There's more to pesto than the basil variety and darn near unlimited uses for the stuff. Simply a paste made from fresh herbs combined with oil and sometimes but not always cheese and nuts, pesto's a great layer of flavor next to the crust in a pizza, as a pasta sauce or even dressing up a simple grilled cheese sandwich.
I've been known to make pesto out of fresh mint to top lamb chops, or cilantro and chiles for a southwest boost to grilled chicken as well as everyone's favorite, an ordinary everyday basil pesto, although I'm not sure how something that smells so fabulous can be labeled "ordinary"; however, I can attest to the fact this sun dried tomato version will go the distance with any of 'em.
Simply made with jarred oil packed sundried tomatoes along with garlic, fresh basil, grated parmesan cheese, lemon juice and of course olive oil, it gets better and better the longer you let it sit in your refrigerator. In our case, we used it as a relish on panko crusted halibut fingers on top of a bed of whole wheat couscous and thank goodness for that too. I have to admit I'm not much of a whole wheat fan and it brought a whole new dimension to what could have been a rather ordinary fish dinner.
By the way, if your wondering how I cooked the halibut, I simply gave it a good dose of salt and pepper, and coated it in a layer of mayonnaise followed by a dredge in panko crumbs. It hit a little oil in a medium hot pan and cooked for a grand total of 7 minutes. Of course the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your fish. Bon appetit!
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (an original from JBug’s Kitchen)
4 ounces oil packed sun dried tomatoes
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves (optional)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Place sun dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, walnuts and parmesan cheese in a blender and pulse until well combined. With the motor running slowly add olive oil. Drizzle in lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as required. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.