There is nothing better than listening and learning directly from a master. In this case, the master was chef Lidia Bastianich who was in Milwaukee for an event at the Pabst Theater. We enjoyed the evening as Chef Bastianich entertained her audience with stories of her family, her restaurants and her role as papal chef. She also shared histories of Italian regional cooking and, of course, she gave numerous tips.
She is just as warm and personable on stage as she is on her show. For a great read for any foodie, pick up a copy of her new book “Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine” written with her daughter Tanya. So with our creativity brewing from the event, we turned our attention again to pesto. Pesto with a twist. This summer our garden yielded a bumper crop of Pineapple Sage. Not wanting to waste what our garden had to offer, we decided to try making some pesto from the Pineapple Sage. This recipe, which we perfected after several attempts, is a fresh take on the traditional version.
1/2 cup olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons walnuts
3/4 cup feta cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
Puree the sage, olive oil, and nuts in the food processor. A blender works just as well. Transfer the ingredients into a mixing bowl and add the butter and cheese by hand. Eat within the week or freeze for future use.
We are pairing our Pineapple Sage with salmon caught by Don’s brother.
Place salmon into a shallow dish. Pour wine over salmon and drizzle with olive oil & lemon juice. Sprinkle the garlic and salt over the fish. Marinate for 15 minutes in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Take the salmon from the marinade and lay onto six thin onion slices placed on aluminum foil. Drizzle marinade over the fillet to soak. Close foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Open at 15 minutes and place pesto on top of salmon. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes based on the thickness of the fish fillet. It will also depend on how well cooked you like your salmon.
Allow to cool and serve with a side of pasta or rice. And of course, a glass of white wine. Delicious.