Sunday, November 7, 2010

Can Pesto Be Fashionable? These are!

I love Twitter, although, as you can see from my output, I’m hardly a slave to it. But I have made some nice connections and learned about some great events and products. Remember when I won a jar of Tapenade? That was GOOD. Then I got some yummy onion thingies. I LOVE onion rings and they were reminiscent of those.

My latest sample was sent from the lovely Lauren. (I could just tell she was lovely, plus her picture didn’t hurt). She has a pesto company, Pestos With Panache and she’s not kidding with that name - she makes some really interesting flavors, like Prosciutto & Smoked Almond Pesto and Succulent Strawberry Pesto.

And then there’s the packaging. It’s so attractive. The pesto comes in cans with modern, sleek-looking labels and you just feel that if you use this pesto, you too will be modern and sleek. (We can always dream.)

Lauren sent me a couple to try and, boy, am I glad she did. The first was Gorgonzola and Fig.

It was amazingly basil-y AND I loved the pronounced gorgonzola and fig flavors.

How would I use it? Of course it would be good on pasta, but I also stirred it into some minestrone, which gave the soup a wonderful kick.

Oh, and my Fig and Prosciutto Tartlets? I HAVE to make those and add a smidge of this pesto on top…or on the bottom. The pesto is made with Genovese basil and it’s very concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

The other flavor Lauren sent was Decadent Dark Chocolate and Ancho Chile. Wow!

I figured she was just CALLING it pesto, but that, of course, it would be a thick, dark, spicy chocolate SAUCE.

WRONG! It WAS pesto, except that it was flavored with dark chocolate and ancho chilies.

Was it weird? No, not at all. I kept thinking of a Mexican Molé as I was tasting it. It’s definitely different spin on pesto. I love it, because it's so complex and you taste different things with each bite – spiciness, smoke, a deep herbiness. It would be amazing with flank steak. Just marinate the steak in a bit of red wine vinegar and garlic, grill it and spoon some pesto on top when it’s sliced.

Wait, I have a better idea.

One of my favorite accompaniments for steak is a simple mixture of halved cherry or grape tomatoes, some sliced red onion, a spoonful of olive oil, ½ spoonful of red vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh basil or parsley. How about a spoonful of dark chocolate and ancho pesto stirred into the cherry tomato salad and served on top of the steak? Yummy.

I could also see this on beef fajitas (or chicken ones, for that matter) or really on anything where you wanted to add a zesty, zingy zip. A sturdy Beef Chili could only be improved or if you wanted to shock some Frenchies, what about stirring some of this pesto into a Bœuf Bourguignon?

You can find Pestos With Panache online here or at different stores, including some Whole Foods Markets.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Interesting flavors. I'd love that ancho-chocolate one. I could see mixing that in with some taco meat or layered in an enchilada dish.

Cynthia said...

These are some mighty interesting flavors indeed. Oh I am such a sucker for great packaging!

Emily said...

Oh my! All of the pestos sound wonderful I think I'd love the ancho-chocolate one as well.

Mmm pesto ciatta panini... that would be delicious.

Lys said...

They do look really interesting. I'll have to check them out on the next WholePaychex excursion

Sue said...

That's a great idea to add that pesto to enchiladas.

You and me both!

You WOULD love these and I would love to see what recipes you would come up with.

They are pricey, but a little goes a long way.