Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Perfect Pesto

I confess to having had a certain disdain for pesto for much of my adult life, but I think I just had a few bad experiences with pestos that were overly creamy or too oily. However, a few months ago, a friend of mine made an arugula pesto that I adored, and then I realized that any mix of greens will do. So tonight, I made a pesto with all my leftovers from my CSA from the past week, since tomorrow's time for the next pick-up. And the result... was perfect. I had a friend to dinner, and this was a fast and easy dinner, which we enjoyed white wine with our fresh pesto and white sole. Even though I used basil, garlic scopes, cilantro, arugula, kale, and spinach, this was just based on what I had in, and this recipe still works great with any combination of these.

White Sole with Pesto and Angel Hair Pasta

2-3 pieces of white sole filet
1 tbl butter
1/2 box angel hair pasta
3/4 cup good olive oil (I used my favorite - Chateau Virant)
3-4 garlic cloves
2-3 garlic scapes
1 large bunch basil
1-2 stems of cilantro
1 small bunch arugula
1-2 kale leaves
1 small bunch spinach
salt and pepper to taste

1. Start your pasta water boiling.
2. Combine and pulse in a food processor - garlic, garlic scapes, basil, cilantro, arugula, kale, and spinach.
3. Put greens in a separate bowl and whisk in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Once the water starts boiling, add pasta and melt butter in a frying pan. The pasta takes only 4-5 minutes, and this fish is thin and cooks quickly. When the butter is melted, add fish and cook, just about 2 minutes on each side, until slightly browned.
5. Add a few ladlefuls of the pasta water to your pesto. This will help it to adhere to the pasta. Combine sauce and pasta in bowl.
6. Serve with piece of fish on top.

 On an unrelated note, recently, I went to one of my favorite bars in NYC - Little Branch, in the West Village. I enjoyed some of my favorite gin and ginger beer based drinks, and then my friend suggested that we have some absinthe. I had ordered absinthe before at bars in London and Paris, but it has always come in a bottle. I had no idea I was missing out on an authentic absinthe experience... a la Toulouse-Lautrec. The eerie green liquid (which did not look eerie at all in the dark bar) is placed in a glass, with a sugar cube above a slotted spoon over the top of the glass. The water tap is turned on slowly to let it drip over the cube, melting the sugar, and dragging it into the glass. The result is a sweet and tangy, licorice-scented beverage that I enjoyed... and I felt like I was doing late nineteenth-century research! :-)

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