Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pesto and Goat Cheese Spread

I started salivating earlier this week, dreaming up all of the wonderful treats I could make with a nice crusty baguette and a fresh bunch of basil that I brought home from our local Farmer's Market. I came back to a go-to dip that hits the spot all summer long.  Rarely do I go without homemade pesto in my kitchen, especially when I can buy basil in bulk and make tons to freeze.  So, with the two huge bunches I picked up and a tasty roll of black peppered goat cheese, I put together a fresh, bright dish that would be a perfect summer evening snack or compliment to any Sunday brunch. 

Makes about 2 cups

4 handfuls fresh basil leaves
1/2-2/3′s cup toasted, unsalted walnuts
1 wedge parmigiano reggiano
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
pinch salt
Pulse all ingredients in a processor except oil until chunky. Next, slowly drizzle in the olive oil – add as much oil as needed to get to the right consistency.  I tend to keep it a bit tight because you can always add a little more oil to each dish when using the pesto and for the purposes of a dip, the less oil the better.

Pesto and Goat Cheese Dip
Servings: 4-6

Remove all but 2 tbsps of pesto in processor and store separately.  To the processor, add zest and juice of 1/2 lemon and 4 oz of black peppered goat cheese.  Blend until creamy.  The black peppered goat cheese adds a sharp tang to the dip which is balanced out by the freshness of the lemon. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with toasted, oiled baguette rounds.

Anna B’s gluten-free baguette had the perfect texture for this dip.  Toasted on a low heat with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt, the crusty outside and slightly chewy inside made for a great base to the creamy, sharp flavors of the pesto and goat cheese.

Not only did the basil provide a summer fresh taste, but the pale, vertical blooms made a modern and fragrant bouquet for the kitchen.

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