Make Ahead

Radish and Basil Pesto

by:
September  9, 2010
Author Notes

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
Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed, fresh radish greens, well washed and dried
  • 1 cup packed, fresh basil leaves, well washed and dried
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup marcona almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup EVOO (or more to taste)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, finely grated using a micro-plane
  • 3 radishes, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chive
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin. About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.