Monday, July 1, 2013

basil anxiety

I got hit with a bout of anxiety Saturday afternoon at the sight of my basil plant. The big leaves needed some serious harvesting. I love having fresh herbs, but when the growth really takes off it can be a bit stressful to use the plant before it dries up or gets attacked by insects or some other likely threat. I took about 2 cups of leaves and pureed them with some white wine, olive oil and salt pepper. This quick basil base will be frozen and when thawed, I can add some Parmesan cheese, garlic, sun dried tomato puree, etc.
My other dish was an almond & lemon pesto. We had roasted salmon with this nutty citrus spread. The pesto recipe makes quite a large amount (enough for about 6 people). Pesto is great thing to stick in the freezer.
3/4 cup toasted almonds
1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 juice from a lemon
1/2 zest from a lemon
3/4 cup EVOO
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
In the food processor, pulse the almonds until they make a medium meal. Add the basil, garlic, juice, zest and salt and pulse. While processing, slowly add the EVOO - taking a break after a few seconds to see how it is incorporating. This pesto will be quite thick, so if you like it thinner, add a bit more EVOO.
I prepared our salmon (about 3/4 pound fillet for 2 people) in a tin foil pouch in the toaster oven (trying to keep the kitchen from over heating by not using the big oven!). Set the temperature to 425 degrees. Rinse and dry the salmon, coat foil with a drizzle of oil. Assemble salmon, pesto sauce and a few slices of tomato, squash or zucchini on top. Fold the foil over the fish, making the seams tight. Roast fish in foil for 15 minutes on a metal tray. Remove from oven and rest for 3 minutes. 
This fish is light and delicious! We enjoyed it with Parmesan and parsley cous cous and a salad. Enjoy!

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