Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Asparagus Pesto

Drinking local beers and crowded at the end of the wooden deck, it was unfortunate for the other guests at this lovely outdoor wedding that many of the passed trays of this appetizer never made it past us. Every app was delish, but we let some of the servers go by with other items. Every time the door creaked open, all of us in our secret asparagus pesto-hoarding group would turn our heads to see what was on the next plate out of the kitchen. If it was the pesto on toasted baguettes, the plate was surrounded and picked cleanly and quickly.

Sometimes you come up with you own ideas, and sometimes you simply try to copy others. This recipe is the latter. It's not really stealing- more like reengineering. And although asparagus pesto is certainly not unheard of, I wasn't gonna think of making it. It's why people share their recipes, after all, for others to make them or be inspired to do something similar.

Hell yes it's another pesto post. I might need to create a new category to keep up. We did a straight-up pesto before and then used the leftovers to dress up this once-lonely baked potato. And this pizza is in constant rotation, usually fighting for space with another favorite pie.

This pesto has only been used in it's basic form- put over a toasted baguette that's been lightly oiled with some good EVOO and rubbed while hot with a split clove of garlic. I bet tossing it with some pasta, a bit more parm-reg, or alongside some grilled chicken would be good use of any leftover.

My original batch had a full clove of garlic, which even though it wasn't a huge clove, was too much....too much garlic? I don't think I've actually said that before. So it's been cut back in the recipe below to just a pinch of the allium.

Asparagus Pesto
1.5 C

1 lb asparagus, washed and trimmed, cut into 2" pieces
1/2 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 C pine nuts
1/4 C EVOO (may need an extra TB or so)
3/4 C parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated of course
freshly cracked black pepper
juice from 1/2 lemon (about a TB)

In a medium pot, get some boiled salted water going for the asparagus- you want to cook them a bit until they are tender but not mushy-about 8 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process, then drain, leaving about a TB or so of cooking water.

Add the asparagus, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and lemon juice to your food processor with the metal blade. Season with just a touch of S&P. Add 2 TB of the oil, then pulse 4-6 times quickly to bring together. With the blade running, stream in the remaining oil until desired consistency is reached. You may need a bit more oil, you many want to thin it a tad with some of the reserved asp cooking water. Taste again for seasoning, then chill for at least an hour before serving. You can serve cold or bring to room temp, and it should be good for a couple days in the refrig.

Yeah, it's summer, and this dish is headed outside- so you get another tupperware photo. Practicality has been trumping prettiness lately.

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