The other things that caught my eye during my shopping trip at Trader Joe’s, were some beautiful basil plants. I’ve been meaning to make fresh pesto for quite sometime now, but basil can be quite expensive at the store and it doesn’t always look very happy. Well, I assume I wouldn’t be happy either if my leaves would be stuffed in a tight plastic pack and sold for an outrageous price! I let the plant be happy for a few days and then I picked some its bigger leaves and turned it into a pesto, by hand, but totally worth the effort. I wanted to use it for a sandwich with some fresh mozzarella and figs, but I didn’t like the bread I had at home so it ended up into a small flatbread in the end, which was for the best since fresh baked dough beats any few days old store bought sliced bread
Ingredients (makes 1 small flatbread and leftover pesto):
- pesto: 1 garlic clove, salt, 1 1/2 basil leaves, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup parmesan romano cheese blend, 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
- ~1/3 dough from here
- 3 Tb pesto
- 4 small mozzarella balls, sliced
- 2 figs, sliced
I made the pesto by hand, but you can use a food processor to save time and effort. Make the pesto, by first smashing the garlic with some salt in a mortar.
Grind the basil leaves into a paste.
Add the pine nuts and grind them as well. You can also use walnuts if you cannot find pine nuts or they’re too expensive.
Add the cheese. I used a parmesan and romano cheese blend, but just parmesan should work as well.
Finish up by adding the olive oil and incorporating it slowly into the pesto.
Taste and adjust salt or cheese if you would like. If you’re not going to use it immediately, cover it right on the surface with plastic wrap making sure you minimize the air bubbles to prevent oxidation.
For the flatbread: preheat oven to 450F. Knead and roll dough on a floured surface. Bake until cooked through (7-10min). Remove from oven. Spread basil pesto on top. Cover with mozzarella and fig slices.
Return to oven and bake for a few more minutes until the cheese is melting and the figs are softened. Remove from the oven, let cool a little bit and enjoy!
You can make the flatbread as large as you want it and in whatever shape you want. I wanted mine to look a little like an open face sandwich and to fit on my Swedish fish flatter…I know, gotta have my priorities in order
This turned out very yummy. The fresh made pesto was worth all the effort, and then some. If you’re still not convinced, you can read about Stefan’s taste test of man vs machine made pesto here.
The creaminess of the mozzarella went great with the saltiness of the pesto (from the parmesan) and the sweetness of the figs. These sweet and salty combinations are really growing on me!
This concludes the fig recipes…at least for this week Hope you’re all getting a chance to enjoy some fresh figs this season!