Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Recipe: Garlic Confit and Parsley Pesto

The garlic confit pesto is vegan— made with parlsey and ground almonds. Obviously the chicken paillard is not vegan.

Garlic confit— amber and gold treasure
Pesto is mostly known as the verdant, flavorful Genoese paste made with basil, garlic, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and olive oil. There are many version throughout Italy that vary by region. Not all Italian pesto is green. Two of my favorite reds that (eponymous to their region) are Pesto alla Calabrese made with grilled red peppers, ricotta cheese and ground black pepper, and Pesto Rosso (alla) Siciliana made with sun-dried tomatoes and ground almonds.

Both are served over bruschetta a the Italian table. But there are variations of this condiment paste made world-wide: Argentinian Chimichurri made with cilantro and oregano; Chinese black bean sauce made with fermented black bean and red chili; Thai peanut sauce made with ground peanuts, sesame oil and fragrant spices. 

This vegan pesto recipe is made with garlic confit— garlic which is slowly poached in extra virgin olive oil until golden. It has a creamy soft texture and a slightly sweet flavor that is reminiscent of pine nuts, without the sharp, sulfurous overtone that is typical of crushed garlic. Click here for the recipe on my blog. Instead of basil and pine nuts this recipe calls for parsley, ground almonds and toasted sesame seeds. Since this is a vegan recipe I use nutritional yeast.

Garlic Confit and Parsley Pesto
You’'ll need a food processor for this recipe. Toast your raw almond and sesame seeds ahead of time and set them aside to cool. Wash parsley and air dry or run through a salad spinner. Use good quality extra virgin olive oil (aka EVOO for the food smarties), it makes all the difference. This pesto will keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for about three days. It’s best to make small batches, but if you make more you can freeze this pesto for future meals.

You’ll need:
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped and packed loosely
  • 1/4 cup garlic confit, plus 2 tbsp confit oil 
  • 3/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, toasted
  • 2 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
In a non-stick pan, set flame on medium-low and toast raw almonds until they have release some of their oil; try not to scorch them, set aside to cool. Toast sesame seeds until the start to pop, set aside to cool. Roughly chop parsley to break up large stems. Pulse almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor until they look like gritty sand. Now add all the remaining ingredients and blend until you have a smooth paste. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a soft spatula as needed. Transfer to a small bowl and serve immediately. You can serve it in a pasta dish or use as bruschetta.

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