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Johnson Estate Winery

Oregano Pesto Crostini

Oregano Pesto Crostini
Recipe Date:
July 10, 2017
Cook Time:
00:00:00
Difficulty:
Easy
Measurements:
Imperial (US)
I have a lot of oregano in the garden. One can only make so much tomato sauce! BUT, there is oregano pesto, made with your choice of nuts, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and fresh, young oregano leaves. It is the essence of our flavor profile for pizza and is so good that eating it with a spoon is not unheard of. Delicious on toast and superb as a marinade for pork tenderloin. And, of course, great on pizza!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup olive oil *Note 1
  • 3 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 2 cups washed and drained fresh oregano leaves (spin in lettuce spinner)
  • washed and drained fresh parsley (optional)
  • ground toasted nuts of choice (walnuts, almonds, cashews, or pine nuts) *note 2
  • ground Italian parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of ascorbic acid or lemon juice
Directions

Grind or grate cheese and set aside. Grind nuts and set aside. Wash and spin dry oregano leaves (not the stems unless they are very tender).

Have your food processor ready for this next step. Heat oil in large pot and add cleaned garlic cloves, each cut into about three pieces. After about one minute, add the oregano leaves and quickly stir until they have been “blanched” for about 30 seconds – you really don’t want it cooked, which will make them and the pesto brown. Pour all of the contents of the pot into the food processor, add a pinch of ascorbic acid or a bit of lemon juice and pulse until puréed.

Roughly measure the green pesto as you transfer it from the food processor to a bowl.  Add the same quantity of nuts and the same quantity of cheese.   The amount of nuts and cheese to use are a personal preference – as is the quantity of olive oil. If you want the pesto to be thinner, add more. I sometimes wonder if this isn’t just a vehicle for Parmesan cheese! You may also make the pesto WITHOUT the cheese and add it when serving. I put the pesto in small glass jars - not too full so that I can put them in the freezer.  Will keep for about one week in refrigerator or months in the freezer.

Notes:
1. I usually use half a good quality extra virgin and half a neutral baking olive oil.  Have extra on hand to
2. Different nuts give the pesto a slightly different flavor. Walnuts make a pesto great for pork, while the almonds and cashews give a lighter taste which is nice for toast. I generally don’t bother to use pine nuts (yikes, $35/lb) – while creamier in texture, it doesn’t seem to do much for the flavor.

Serving Ideas:

  • Best on crunchy or wholegrain bread
  • Grilled vegetable pizzas, bruschetta
  • With polenta, served with a dollop of goat cheese and a dollop of oregano pesto
  • Stuffing for pork loin
  • Stuff large cherry tomatoes with a mixture of pesto and goat cheese

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