Radish Pesto

I picked up a bunch of radishes at the farmer's market this week and as I was debating what to do with them, Tasting Table answered with one of its daily e-mails. They shared a few interesting radish recipes that elevate the root from its status as a salad topper-- one from their own test kitchen for a Radish Pesto. I was intrigued to try this unique pesto that does not use the radish itself as I had expected, but instead the radish leaves -- an often discarded portion of the vegetable. In my preparation I made a few adjustments to the recipe. It calls for macadamia nuts, but I opted try two alternative versions -- one with pistachios and another with hazelnuts. I used Pecorino instead of Piave cheese and also decided to throw in some whole radishes to give it an extra radish-y twist. The results were fantastic and highly enjoyable with a plate of linguine. The radish has officially claimed territory in the realm of pesto.

[Adapted from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen]


2 small bunches radishes, greens attached (about 20 to 25 radishes)
1 bunch fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups)
1 small shallot, coarsely chopped and divided in half
1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped and divided in half
1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, divided in half
1 lemon, juiced and zested, divided in half
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided in half
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, unsalted
1/4 cup roasted pistachios, unsalted

1. Separate the radish bodies from the greens; wash well and set radishes aside.
2. Divide all ingredients in half, designating one portion for the hazelnuts and one for the pistachios.
3. Roughly slice 6 radishes, adding 3 to each set of ingredients.
4. In a food processor, add one set of the radish greens, basil, shallot, garlic, Pecorino, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, hazelnuts and three sliced radishes. Blend until smooth.
5. Repeat step 4 with pistachio batch.

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