So I had a little bit of rocket leftover from a shoot I did the other week...
I love a good rocket salad but I just wasn’t feeling in a salady mood so I decided to make a rocket type of pesto paste thing.
Pesto actually comes form the Genoese word "pestare" meaning to pound or crush. The original pesto that we know, made from pine nuts, garlic, basil, parmigiano reggiano and pecorino sardo (sheeps milk cheese) came from Genoa. Apparantly this tremendous Ligurian concoction was developed around the 16th Century.
The Romans once made a paste called 'moretom' which was a mixture of crushed cheese, garlic and herbs. In Provence, the French do their own version called "Pistou" (sounds so posh!) which is made from olive oil, garlic and basil.
On the basis that pesto does not necessarily have to have basil, I can safey say this is my little rendition of pesto that goes with a meaty white fish and a crunchy light salad.
15 g flat leaf parsley leaves
100g good olive oil
6g or 3/4 tsp lemon juice
40g toasted macadamias
2g or 1/2 tsp salt
2g or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
250g red radishes (two generous handfuls)
250g japanese cucumbers (2-3 pieces)
250g yellow capsicum (1-2 pieces)
10g dill (small handful), chopped finely
10g mint (small handful), chopped finely
zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
pinch of sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp coarsley ground black pepper
15g/ 1-2tsp good balsamic vinegar
6g/1tsp lemon juice
About 900g of meaty white fish, skin on, divided into 5 prtions.
I used palla but seabass would also work quite well
About 20g extra roasted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
Combine rocket, parsley, garlic, nuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender.
Slowly add in the olive oil and blitz until a nice smooth paste. Add extra salt to taste if you wish!
Using a mandolin or if you have the patience, a nice sharp knife, slice the radishes and cucumbers in discs about 2mm thick
De seed and slice out pith (white bits) of the capsicum and slice into ribbons about 3mm thick.
Throw the rest of the salad ingredients into a bowl and mix until colours are dispersed evenly
For the dressing, mix salt and vinegar together until salt has dissolved slightly, add other ingredients and set aside.
Preheat oven to 160' Celsius. Lightly season the fish on both sides. Heat oil in a saucepan and carefully place the fish, skin side down, cook until the skin is crispy. Remove from pan and place on a lined baking tray, meat side down.
Scoop 2 generous tablespoons of pesto onto the skin of the fish and smooth out, covering the whole topside.
Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until the fish is cooked through. You can test if the fish is cooked by inserting a thermometer or metal skewer into the thickest part and see if it is hot. Depending on your oven, you may need to bake the fish for a little longer.
When the fish is cooked, take out of the oven and allow to rest slightly, pour the dressing over the salad and mix through. Arrange salad and fish on a plate (however you want) and top the fish with roughly chopped macadamia nuts.
Dig in and enjoy!!!