Pesto Pelagic

The Proof is in the Pesto

Chef Kevin Kelly August 13, 2010

The origins of pesto are uncertain, but some historical manuscripts mention a dressing in Northern Italy called “battuto d’aglio” (battered garlic) dating back to as early as 1600. The region’s unique microclimate and ideal soil favor the growth of basil, with the end result perfectly balanced in regards to taste and aroma. This flavorful dressing continues to conquer tables in dining rooms all over the world with its unique blend of fresh, aromatic flavors. Even today it’s common for Genovese families to keep a basil plant on the balcony. The same is true for captains on their ships during long voyages.

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Don’t be afraid to incorporate pesto into any seafood dish, as the sauce’s garlicky flavor compliments lobster, shrimp, and a variety of fish textures. I selected fresh blackfin tuna and grilled the steaks to perfection just before plating. If fresh tuna isn’t available, any seared or grilled fresh fish fillet will leave you and your guests wanting more.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2lbs. fresh tuna steak (substitute with dolphin/wahoo)

Pesto

  • 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Dill
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Almonds
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • Salt to Taste

Vegetables

  • 1 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Giant White Beans
  • 1 Cup Shaved Fennel
  • 2 Cups Fresh Spinach
  • 6 oz. Fresh Green Beans
  • 8 oz. Can Watercress

Method

Blend all pesto ingredients and set aside. Over medium heat, sauté vegetables in 1-teaspoon olive oil, starting with shaved fennel. Add remaining vegetables until spinach has wilted. Add pesto sauce. Coat well, heat, and plate. Arrange grilled fish over vegetables and serve dish hot.

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