Forget basil, fennel fronds are the new herb of choice for pesto. The delicate licorice and earthy green flavor of fennel fronds make them PERFECT for a pesto! You can use this pesto to coat pasta, mix it with a little greek yogurt for a creamy vegetable dip, smear it onto a sandwich, or baste it onto fish before baking/grilling. Easy, versatile, delicious, and probably the best possible way to use fennel fronds, you won’t regret making it! Oh and did I mention that it literally takes 5 minutes?
Fennel Frond Pesto
Make with or without cheese, according to your taste. For use with cooking fish, definitely withhold the cheese. (I like to make 1/2 with cheese, 1/2 without!)
- Fennel fronds from one fennel bulb, thick stalks removed* (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1/4 c pine nuts
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- 1/4 c finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Toss fennel, garlic, pine nuts, and half the oil into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to roughly combine, adding oil as necessary, up to 1/4 cup — I have found that 2 tablespoons is enough for me. Pulse for about 1 minute more, until the pesto comes together into a paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. If adding the cheese, do it now and pulse just until combined. If not adding cheese, add a pinch of salt and pulse until just incorporated.
Alternately, remove half of the pesto from the processor bowl, then add cheese to the remaining half (just a few tablespoons will do!) and pulse until combined. You can always stir a little salt into the half without cheese.
Store pesto in the refrigerator in an airtight container and use within a few days for best flavor. You can also drop tablespoon-sized amounts into a small ice cube tray and freeze for later use.
*Hint: Save the fennel stalks in the freezer until the next time you make bone broth!
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