Oh happy day! A way to make fresh, delicious pesto anytime of year... even when basil isn't readily available. And, even better, a great way to eat veggies. Your mom will be so proud.
I'll admit, peas really aren't my favorite veggie. I'll rarely, ok, almost never, fix them as a side or order them in a restaurant. So when I noticed this recipe on one of my favorite blogs and realized it came from Giada (bonus!) then read all the rave reviews, I knew I needed to try it.
And, as you probably know, nearly anything on top of warm, crusty bread is A-Ok in my book.
Now I can officially say I'm a fan of peas... when they're blended with garlic, cheese, and olive oil. You tell me... who wouldn't want to take a bite out of this?
Pea Pesto Crostini
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/3 cup olive oil
8 (1/2-inch thick) slices whole-grain baguette or ciabatta bread, preferably day-old*
1/3 cup olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato, diced
For the pea pesto: Pulse together the peas, garlic, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
For the crostini: Preheat a stove top griddle or grill pan on medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the sliced bread with olive oil and grill until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the bread to a clean surface and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the prepared pesto on each slice.
Top with tomato halves and serve.
*If you don't have day-old bread on hand, you can dry out fresh bread by putting the slices in a preheated 300 degree oven until slightly crisp, about 5 minutes.
Instead of using day-old bread or drying it out as the recipe suggests and toasting them on a griddle, I sliced the fresh baguette into 1/4-inch thick pieces and placed them on a cookie sheet. I drizzled them with olive oil and popped them into the oven for 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees... just until they were warm and toasty with a little bit of a crunch.
I also added a slice or two of shaved fresh Parmesan to the pea pesto before topping it with half of a grape tomato which gave it even more of that nutty cheese flavor... and gave me an excuse to use my very cool ceramic peeler that I got for Christmas from Dad. Who, coincidentally, does love peas.