How to Make Basil Walnut Pesto

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 211,608
    This video will show how to make basil walnut pesto for the calamari.

    Barton Seaver: Hey! I am Barton Seaver and today we are messing around with some calamari. Right now we have gotten all our vegetables prepped, and ready to go. Now we are going to be making our basil walnut pesto for the calamari. Now I have got about a half cup, about of walnuts that had been toasted in an oven about 300-350 degrees, till they just toast up a little bit, sort of extenuating the natural flavors.

    Now walnuts with a skin on them, this skin tends to be pretty bitter, and doesn't really puree down very well. So what we are going to do, just with our hands, just lightly turn these together, and you can see as that skin falls off. Now you don't have to remove all of it, but this is a pretty good technique for anything you are doing with walnuts.

    You can see there is still a fair amount of it left on there, but all the stuff that falls off is largely -- it will really make a difference in the final dish. So what I am going to do, is just one more handful of that, shouldn't take very long. You can also do this in a colander. Just put all the walnuts into the colander before they are toasted or after, after makes it a little bit easier as that skin is little bit dried out and just pass them over the grated holes with your hands, and that will do that as well. Do it over a trashcan or over your sink.

    So here we have our walnuts. Now in our blender over here, I am going to put some garlic in there. Now it's important to put the garlic in first. Garlic has some great antioxidant qualities to it, which is going to help keep the basil very green. Now because there are so few elements to this dish, it's important that you keep everything working pretty, and it's a bright brilliant vibrant summary dish. So we are going to put our garlic in there. We are going to use a little bit of vegetable oil. We are going to throw that in there as well.

    Now you want just enough oil to make a thin puree of the basil, because those walnuts are going to go in there just the very end and thicken it all up. So you got a nice big handful of cleaned basil, a little of the stem in there is just fine, but you want the thick fibers woody stalks. They won't puree down, they are very bitter. So you won't get that pure clean basil for what you are looking for.

    So add that into there, and add a little bit of salt as well. Kosher salt is my favorite, that's what I always use. So we will cover this up on a low speed. Turn it on, and that basil will gradually be drawn down into the oil, and you can see as it begins to puree, the color of the puree darkens into that rich forest green color, absolutely awesome.

    Now you can see we have got a fairly thin puree of the basil here. Now as soon as we add those walnuts into there, it's going to thicken right up as I said, that's going to be the base of our sauce. This smells absolutely fantastic.

    So these walnuts, you want them to be certainly textured. So you don't want to make it in a fine puree. So we are just going to largely pulse it. So we are going to turn the speed up just a little bit. So that's perfect. Now the walnuts, see how much that has thickened up a little bit there. There's nice thick chunks of the walnuts in there. That's going to be perfect.

    Now because this recipe makes a little bit more than we need for this plating. The basil walnut pesto is great on anything, and will keep for about a day, before it begins to oxidate and becomes a little bit brown. Now don't worry about it, it doesn't really change the flavor so much. This changes the visual appeal of it, but feel free to put it over a saut breast of chicken, or even just on a sandwich, instead of mayonnaise, when you go to make a ham sandwich or something, absolutely fantastic.

    So now we are going to clean up a little bit. Now that we are ready to go with our salad and our dressing. I will show you about cleaning calamari, a little bit about fresh calamari and then how to cook it.