I am sure many of you are wrinkling your nose at the thought of sweet licorice flavored pesto. Believe me, I raised an eyebrow when Crystal Organic Farm told me a lot of the chefs in town are using the fennel fronds to make a simple dip.
Since one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to use more cleansing foods in my recipes, I decided to make a small batch of fennel frond pesto using the NY Times recipe as a guide but added more pine nuts. It was so amazing I ended up making two batches but added Parmesan cheese to the second one. The kids absolutely loved it; my daughter even sliced a orange bell pepper to dip in the pesto after we ran out of carrots.
That night we spread the pesto on a cod fillet resting on sliced lemons and onions and baked it for 10 minutes. I should have bought 2 pounds of fish after seeing how fast it was devoured. If you are using this pesto with fish or seafood, make it without any cheese.
Try the Parmesan fennel frond pesto with some warm pasta, cherry tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Toss in some Italian meatballs if you want more protein. Or, add a tablespoon to your veggie or meat sandwich. You will love it.
Right now fennel is sweet and in season. The fronds do not have the strong licorice taste so it is perfect for salads as well as this pesto. Select a smaller fennel bulb with lots of feathery, green fronds. Use the bulb in a salad, salad dressing or smoothie. Save the fennel stalks for a stock.
1) Roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic and add them to a food processor with 1/2 teaspoon Back to Organic Bloody Mary Himalayan salt. Pulse a couple times to mince the garlic.
2) Add the 1/2 cup of pine nuts and chop until fine. Pulse with 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese if using.
3) Add 1 cup of fennel fronds and 1/4 cup of EVOO.
4) Blend until smooth.
The pesto without cheese goes beautifully with fish or seafood. Try the Parmesan Fennel Frond Pesto tossed in pasta or a meatball dish. Serve as a dip with carrots, bell pepper slices, and crackers. Enjoy!