I must admit that I have been reluctant to try all the various forms and recipes for pesto out there that aren’t ‘traditional’. I have a great love for pesto made with fresh from the garden basil. But, on the www you can find pesto made from almost anything. The greens include basil, mint, spinach, cilantro, seaweed, arugula, chard, kale and Italian parsley. The nuts can include pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds. Whew! The term pesto has stretched to include almost any green and nut whirled to a chunky paste with olive oil (although even that is not used exclusively).
But now is a different time, we are all pushed to use ingredients and our pantry in ways that would have been unimaginable a few months ago. During the past few months I have seen many creative and interesting recipes out there. Waste is not an option when you are trying to make your grocery shopping trip last as long as possible. A forgotten head of broccoli was looking a little sad in the back of the produce drawer. A few months ago I might have thrown it into the worm bin. Not now. The salmon from the back of the freezer also needed cooking. Combining the two together was a delicious surprise. This version of charred broccoli pesto doesn’t contain any nuts or basil. But it tastes delicious and you won’t miss them. The charring adds a lot of umami flavor and makes up for any lack of nuts or basil. There are only 4 ingredients; roast charred broccoli florets, garlic, parmesan and olive oil (plus salt). Whiz them all in your food processor for a few seconds and voila! It certainly perked up the salmon.
Charred Broccoli Pesto
- 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
- 1 large head of broccoli, florets broken into smaller pieces (save the bigger stems for another dish)
- 1/2 to 1 cup of parmesan cheese, either grated or broken into chunks
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt to taste
Put any unused pesto into a small jar and top with olive oil. It will keep for at least a week.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut and wash the broccoli into small florets, place them on the baking sheet and coat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Reserve the stems, they are delicious when peeled tough skin and stir fried.
- Roast until the edges of the florets begin to crisp and brown, and the broccoli is tender. This will take about 30 minutes.
- In a food processor pulse the broccoli, parmesan, and garlic cloves. In a slow stream add the additional 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- Taste and add salt if necessary.
The miracle idea of slow roasting is that it is difficult to overcook the fish. The end result is velvety soft, moist and cooked all the way through. This method has become my preferred way of cooking salmon. Although the salmon had been in my freezer for a few months, you would have thought it was caught that morning.
This was a smaller piece of salmon, just right for 3. If you have a larger piece you will need to either increase the cooking time, or cut it into individual portions before cooking.
The slow cooked salmon was one of the methods reviewed in an exhaustive testing by Food 52 where they did a comparison of salmon cooked 12 ways.
It was one of their favorites.
Slow Roasted Salmon
- 3/4 lb salmon filet
- 1/2 cup of charred broccoli pesto
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil
- Place the salmon, skin side down, on the baking sheet and coat with the pesto
- Bake for 30 minutes.
The inspiration for the charred broccoli pesto came from the blog The Modern Proper. They added basil but alas it was not to be had by me. I didn’t miss it and don’t think it is necessary.
Served with a stir fry of red Chinese cabbage, onion, and broccoli stems.
Make your way over to Angie’s, the host of Fiesta Friday, to read all the amazing posts about food and crafts. It’s a amazing variety of bloggers. And, thank you for visiting me. I would love to hear from you.