This recipe was inspired by a similar one I saw on Clotilde Dusolier's "Chocolate and Zucchini" sometime last year. Hers called for using just the radish greens, and she also used a more traditional hard Italian cheese such as parmesan or romano. I've added basil for a little more complexity, marconas for their sweetness, feta for its tang, and finely diced radishes for a little extra spice and crunch. This pesto is delicious as a sandwich spread, tossed with whole wheat pasta, or stirred into some smashed potatoes. - Oui, Chef —Oui, Chef
Test Kitchen Notes
Let me preface this review by saying that I am not a huge fan of basil pesto. Perhaps I overdosed in the eighties, but I find the intense spicy licorice flavor of the basil overwhelming. This recipe, however, intrigued me. While it is indeed a pesto with basil, it also includes a few unique ingredients I love, such as feta, lemon and radishes. Right up front, this pesto does have a distinct basil flavor however, unlike the ubiquitous basil-only version, it's smoothed by creamy feta, freshened with crispy radish and brightened by lemon. The traditional pine nuts are replaced with rustic marcona almonds which add extra salt and crunch and are very satisfying to eat. Finally the use of bitter, earthy radish leaves is not only efficient, but grounds the basil, which I appreciate. If I have one quibble it's that the flavor of the radishes is masked by all of the other strong ingredients, so only their texture is represented. I served the pesto with oven roasted chicken breasts and roasted radishes, and my family loved it.- TasteFood —The Editors
- Serves 4-6
packed, fresh radish greens, well washed and dried
packed, fresh basil leaves, well washed and dried
cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
marcona almonds, roughly chopped
EVOO (or more to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
feta cheese, finely grated using a micro-plane
radishes, finely minced
finely minced fresh chive
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Place the chopped garlic and almonds in the bowl of a small food processor with a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper and pulse until finely minced.
- Add the radish and basil leaves, and process while pouring the EVOO through the feed tube, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue until you have incorporated all of the oil, and the pesto has achieved the consistency you desire. Add a little more oil here if you wish.
- Pour the pesto into a medium sized bowl, and mix in the lemon juice, and grated cheese. Slice the 3 radishes on a benriner (or mandoline), and then finely mince each slice. Add the radishes to the mix along with the chive.
- Test for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice as desired. Spoon into an air-tight container just big enough to hold all the pesto, pour a thin layer of EVOO to coat the top, and store in your fridge for up to 3-4 days.