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Johnson Estate Winery

Oregano Pesto Crostini

Oregano Pesto Crostini
Recipe Date:
July 10, 2017
Cook Time:
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 with a spoon is not unheard of. Delicious on toast and superb as a marinade for pork tenderloin. And, of course, great on pizza!
  • 1 cup olive oil *note 1
  • 3 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 2 cups fresh washed and dried oregano leaves (spin in lettuce spinner)
  • fresh washed and dried 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

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 it brown. Pour all of the contents into the food processor, add a pinch of ascorbic acid or a bit of lemon juice and pulse until puréed. Measure this into a bowl and add the same quantity of nuts and cheese. The quantities of nuts and cheese to use are to personal preference – as with the quantity of olive oil to use. If you want it 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 in small glass jars. Will keep for about one week in refrigerator or months in the freezer.

1. I usually use half a good quality extra virgin and half a neutral baking olive oil.
2. Different nuts give the pesto a slightly different flavor. Walnuts makes a pesto great for pork, while the almonds and cashews give a lighter taste perhaps better 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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