Friday, November 13, 2009

Chef's Choice Recipes: Josh Allen's Spinach-Walnut Pesto Crostini

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge Josh Allen, founder of Companion - ROBIN WHEELER
  • Robin Wheeler
  • Josh Allen, founder of Companion
Just as Companion founder Josh Allen's career has focused on bread, so does his family's diet: "We mainly eat a Mediterranean diet with lots of spreads like tapenade."

Read the Chef's Choice profile of Josh Allen.

Even pesto, traditionally relegated to pasta, turns into a fine spread when paired with crostini. To overcome the seasonality of fresh basil, Allen uses spinach instead, which gives the spread a tangy bite instead of basil's sweetness.

This recipe makes a large portion of pesto. Leftovers can be divvied into individual portions and frozen. (Make sure to seal containers for freezer tightly.)

click to enlarge ROBIN WHEELER
  • Robin Wheeler
Spinach Walnut Pesto Crostini
10 ounces baby spinach, divided in half
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
20 baguette slices, sliced 1/2-inch thick on the diagonal
1. Place 1/2 the spinach, walnuts, cheese, lemon juice and garlic in food processor. With machine running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil; process until spinach is coarsely chopped. Add remaining spinach, gradually adding remaining 1/4 olive oil; process until coarse purée forms.

2. Transfer to bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange bread slices in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Cool.

Spoon generous amount of pesto onto each bread slice. Garnish with additional cheese if desired.

Robin Wheeler writes the blog Poppy Mom and is a regular contributor to Gut Check, including the columns The Dive Bomber and Throwback of the House.

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