Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fennel Slaw with Prosciutto and Pistachio Pesto

A few weeks ago we had friends over for dinner, and I decided to serve this as an appetizer.  To make things easier I opted to do the prep work a day early and make the pesto one night ahead.  As usual, I was prepping pesto in addition to cooking dinner AND making a Key Lime Pie.  By the time I roasted the pistachios for this recipe, I was so tired that I took a lazy route and used a blender instead of a food processor for the pesto.  The long and short of it is that I ended up catching a plastic spoon in the moving blades, while the lid was off of the blender, and almost lost an eye as pesto shot all over my face, shirt, up the cabinets and even to the  popcorn on our vaulted ceiling.  The message I leave you with is to make cooking your joy and to give yourself adequate time to enjoy the experience.  Don't lose an eye over pesto!

Pistachio Pesto:
2 cups (lightly packed) flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup shelled and toasted pistachios (see directions below for toasting)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fennel Slaw:
4 to 5 (about 3 1/2 pounds) fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (Fennel is often mis-labeled as Anise, in North American supermarkets)
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced

**Note: To toast pistachios, heat them in a small, dry heavy-bottomed skilled over medium high heat until they are fragrant and lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.  Spread the nuts on a baking sheet to cool completely before using.


For the Pistachio Pesto: Combine the parsley, pistachios, thyme, and garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processorblend until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil, processing until well blended. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the Fennel Slaw: Place the fennel in a large serving bowl. Add the pesto and toss to coat well. Tear the prosciutto into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Gently toss to combine. Serve.

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