In Wickwood's Kitchen ...
As Farmer's Markets open, cut basil and
varieties of basil plants will appear. Take advantage of the season to make a stash of
Basil Pesto and feel rich too!! This is the best gift I've given lately.
BASIL HAZELNUT PESTO
"Pesto" in Italian means "to
pound"- so there's no better way to make pesto than the way the Genoians do by
pounding it in a mortar and pestle. Forget the processor, once you make it by hand you
will know that you're tasting pesto for the first time! It takes no more time, just
We make huge batches of this at a time and
it stays bright green and fresh tasting. I don't add parmesan to my pesto - instead I add
it as I'm cooking a dish.
Yields 3/4 cup, just multiply for your "stash".
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 large cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (added by mistake one day - now always)
1 cup fresh basil, leaves only, torn 1/3 at a time
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix salt and garlic in mortar crushing
garlic with pestle. Add hazelnuts and crush. Add 1/3 of basil along with the 1 T of olive
oil and continue to gently pound the ingredients. Incorporate the next 1/3 of the basil.
With the final 1/3 of the basil, add the remaining 1/4 c olive oil and mix thoroughly.
Season with black pepper.
Place in plastic container and cover with a
thin layer of olive oil. You can store in refrigerator for up to 6 months, if after each
use you top with a film of olive oil.
Basil Hazelnut Pesto is great with
Linguini, Hot & Sweet Italian Sausage, Asparagus and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Atop gnocchi - pesto sauce thinned with a little heavy cream
Stirred into a Sweet Pea and Proscuitto Risotto
Layered into Eggplant Parmesan
Added to a shrimp dish or topping grilled fish
Spread on Crostini and topped with Roasted Tomatoes and Mozzarella
WICKWOOD INN CHEESE SPREAD
At the Inn we combine all of our Little
Bits and pieces of cheese into a tasty spread, which the French call "fromage
fort" (strong cheese). Although our Inn cheese has a milder flavor than those made
with the true Artisinal "stinky cheeses of France," it's a great way to use left
For every pound of cheese at room temperature (rinds removed), add 2 cloves of minced
garlic, freshly ground pepper to taste and 1/4 cup of minced chives, basil, tarragon,
Italian parsley, or dill. The more varieties of cheeses the better - and preferably with
at least a small amount of Roquefort. Place the softened cheese in a food processor, add
the remaining ingredients, and process for 20 to 30 seconds, until smooth. Add 1/4 cup dry
white wine, one stick of softened sweet butter, and pulse for a couple of seconds more.
That's it. Place in a crock, cover tightly, and refrigerate until 1 hour before you want
to serve it. We like it atop a piece of still warm grilled bread.
One of the simplest ways to dazzle your
family or guests at breakfast or as a light supper is also one of the most lush and
elegant. Its origins are simple
the old campsite favorite of Egg in a Hole - updated.
Simple, yet it is delicious!!
Remember less is more. We like to serve Truffled Eggs atop roasted asparagus spears or a
slice of country ham - or better yet, both. Sometimes more is more!
4-1½ inch slices of English Muffin Bread, Brioche or
8 egg yolks (yes, really)
8 ounces fontina, or good Swiss, or greuyer cheese (or other mild semi-hard cheese) sliced
1/4 cup grated best quality parmesan reggiano (or better yet, shards)
1-2 tablespoons Truffle Oil, best quality
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Hollow out an indentation in each bread slice large enough to hold two egg yolks. Leave
a sufficient cushion of bread surrounding the indentation to avoid leakage. Place the
bread on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with olive oil.
3. Place two egg yolks in each bread indentation. Place the slices of the cheese over the
entire slice of bread, to its edges. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.
Place Parmesan atop during the last two minutes of baking.
4. Remove each bread slice to a serving plate and lightly drizzle the top with the truffle
oil in a diagonal stream. Serve immediately with salt and pepper at table and pass
additional truffle oil, if desired.
Once we discovered this method of cooking
asparagus - it happens at our house about twice a week. We actually prefer them roasted a
bit longer, until slightly browned and crispy. Your choice.
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Spread asparagus in one layer on a baking sheet.
3. Lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil in a zigzag pattern. Sprinkle generously
with crackled black pepper, and lightly with sea salt.
4. Bake 15-30 (usually about 20) minutes depending on the thickness of asparagus and
desired doneness. Serve immediately.