Tag Archives: pesto

Recipes containing pesto

Pesto Chicken Salad

Pesto Chicken Salad
Pesto Chicken Salad is a wonderful lunch. It’s quick and easy to make, too!

Andalucian chef Enrique Sánchez runs a popular TV show called Cómetelo. Last week he had an interesting recipe Pollo al pesto which can be translated to Chicken with Pesto. We’re big fans of green pesto (especially with fresh pasta!), but we’ve never tried to make one from arugula. Our regular pesto recipe contains fresh basil leaves and pine nuts. Enrique had also replaced pine nuts with hazelnuts, but we used pine nuts anyway, because there’s a stash of those in our cupboard always. The nuts give pesto a structure more than taste.

Ingredients for Pesto Chicken for 4 Servings

  • 4 chicken breasts – pechugas de pollo
  • 75 g (2.5 oz) of arugula – rúcola
  • 150 g (5 oz) of parmesan cheese grated – queso parmesano rallado
  • 50 g of pine or hazelnuts – piñones o avellanas
  • 2 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • 1-2 dl (0.5-1 cups) extra virgin olive oil – aceite olive extra virgen
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra

Use sharp knife to chop arugula fine. Do not overdo it, because arugula goes bitter easily. Even though Enrique used a stick blender on the show – just don’t. Add pine or hazelnuts and garlic cloves and chop some more. When everything if finely chopped, move mixture to a bowl, grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top, season with salt, ground black pepper and about 1-2 dl of extra virgin olive oil. Yes, you have to use extra virgin. Trust us. The amount depends about the pesto structure. It must be moist, but not too moist. Otherwise it will drain from the chicken breast all over your grill. If the mixture gets too moist, grate some more parmesan – it absorbs extra oil. Mix well and check the taste.

Butterfly the chicken breasts (or you can do it the way Enrique did, slice the breasts in thin slices and use strings to tie the packet). Use generous amount of pesto in between and grill the breasts on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper on both sides after grilling and let them rest cool on the side while preparing the salad.

Ingredients for Salad for 4 Servings

  • 75 g (2.5 oz) of arugula – rúcola
  • 50 g (2 oz) of walnuts – nueces
  • 8 cherry tomatoes – tomates cherry
  • medium-soft Spanish Machego – Manchego semicurado
  • a splash of extra virgin olive oil – aceite oliva extra virgen
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra

Leave the Machego to room temperature for at least 2 hours before making the salad. Wash and dry the arugula, slice tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Dice the cheese into small cubes. Add the cheese, walnuts and some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.  Serve the salad with chicken breasts (which should now be in about room temperature).

¡Buen provecho!

Jamón Ibérico with Manchego Cheese

Jamón Ibérico with Manchego Cheese
Jamón Ibérico with Manchego Cheese is a wonderful traditional Spanish tapas.

Tapas means a small dish. Usually it is a quarter of a portion, but many times it also refers to something that is not available in portions. You don’t eat a whole plate of cheese or cured ham at once. Tapas is a Spanish snack.

During lunch hour you see locals gathering at tapas bars with friends for having a glass of red wine or caña (a small beer), some cured Spanish ham, jamón and Manchego cheese. Finest jamón is called pata negra which translates to “black hoof” and it’s usually cured between 24 to 48 months. This is traditional Spanish way of preserving meat and it was the only way in the old days. It is served in thin slices and it takes years of training in order to be able to cut them perfectly from the whole pork legs.

Manchego is made of sheep milk and it is aged for long as well. Typical Manchego cheese is aged between 2 to 12 months. And the price goes together with the aging period. First Manchego cheese is cut in sectors and then cut in triangle slices. When served, the cheese must be in room temperature. Usually in tapas bars they don’t even put the cheese in the fridge – it is stored in under a cover on tapas counter. Depending on your preference you may enjoy it as it is or put some extra virgin olive oil and some ground pepper on top.

Many times these types of tapas is served with bread sticks. Once we’re at a tapas bar, the bread sticks came with pesto cream cheese and this combination turned out to be absolutely wonderful! In the picture above we have some home made pesto (see our recipe for Tuna Steak Salad with Green Pesto to make the pesto). Mix it well with cream cheese and you’re done!

¡Buen provecho!

Cutting Jamón Ibérico
A lady at Romero Torres Jamoneria is cutting thing slices of Iberian ham for the tapas.

Tuna Steak Salad with Green Pesto

Tuna salad with green pesto
Green pesto made of fresh basil is a perfect match with a tuna steak!

As everyone knows, tuna is one of the endangered species. We were pondering awhile whether we should publish this recipe or not, but we decided to go for it and do a little background research about tuna to educate ourselves as well.

There appears to be two organizations which grant certifications to ease consumers to make smart choices at fish counter. They are Friends of the Sea (FOS) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

FOS and MSC Logos
Freands of the Sea (FOS) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) grant certifications which ensure that tuna is caught off or farmed in a sustainable way.

When buying tuna or other seafood which is endangered ensure that the product is labeled with one of these logos.

The whole idea behind this recipe is not the tuna – it’s the pesto! Tuna and pesto go very with together, but you can always use pesto, for example, with pasta as it is. You don’t need anything else.


Ingredients for Tuna Salad with Green Pesto for 4 Servings

  • 4 tuna steaks – filetes de atun
  • Salad of your choice, we recommend arugula (also known as rocket) – rúcula
  • 1 bunch of basil – albahaca
  • 3 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • 1 dl (1/3 cup) pine nuts – piñones
  • 3 dl (1 cup) freshly grated parmesan cheese – queso parmesano
  • extra virgin olive oil – aceite de oliva virgen extra
  • salt – sal
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • lime juice  zumo de lima
  • 4 eggs – huevos

Start by boiling the eggs. Then get a sharp knife and chop the basil leaves. Do not use a food processor, they are delicate! Add the pine nuts and garlic, grate some parmesan cheese on top and chop some more. When you have everything finely chopped, place the pesto in a small bowl, add some olive oil and lime juice so that the texture is right and season with salt (if needed, because there is salt in the cheese) and mix well. Place in a refrigerator to rest. You may need to add more olive oil before serving, because the mixture absorbs some oil while resting.

Place washed and dried salad on plates with eggs and lime slices. Fry the tuna steaks in hot pan for about 2 minutes per side so that they are medium rare. Season the steaks with freshly grounded black pepper and salt and put a splash of olive oil on top of the arugula salad. Cut the steaks into slices and place on top of the salad. Finish with generous amount of pesto.

¡Buen provecho!