In the spirit of avoiding food waste, I saved last night’s sauteed kale with shallots and converted it into a pesto topping for salmon.
It was a small amount; exactly the amount I would have tossed out a week ago, since it wasn’t really enough for another meal. Being conscious of food waste, I became creative with my leftovers and found a way to enhance our meal with something that was already there.
It’s easy to take almost any strong flavored green vegetable and make it into pesto. I have used broccoli rabe and spinach in the past, as an alternative to the traditional basil.
Tonight, I put 1/2 a garlic clove ( remember it was a tiny amount of kale) and a tiny handful of pistachio nuts into the food processor, with some parmesan cheese and the kale. I added a little drizzle of olive oil to thin it down, until it became a thick paste.
After broiling the salmon for a few minutes, I spread the pesto mixture over it, and cooked it for a couple more minutes.
It was flavorful and added a nice and healthy touch to a menu staple that we eat several times per week.
What do you have on hand that you can use to make a mundane meal more interesting?
Here is recipe for a more traditional take on pesto. Use it as a guide to make your own innovative variations, based on what you have on hand.
1 bunch of basil leaves (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup pignoli nuts* ( or walnuts)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil (or more if needed)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Put the basil, garlic and nuts into the food processor,and process until finely chopped.
With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil into the bowl until the mixture forms a thick paste. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If serving over pasta, heat sauce in a pan until warm . If necessary, add a little of the pasta cooking water to thin it down. If you like a creamier texture, add a little heavy cream tot the sauce. Toss with the hot pasta and enjoy!
photo: Glasshouse Images