Lauren McDuffie's Toasted Pecan & Black Garlic Pesto
- 1 cup whole Cane River Mammoth or Elliott pecans
- 1 bulb black garlic (see note)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cup fresh baby arugula
- 2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos (it won't be spicy, just flavorful)
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- Assorted crostini, toasted bread, and crackers for dipping.
Begin by toasting the pecans. Add the pecans to a large, dry skillet set over medium heat. Allow them to gently toast, getting slightly darker on both sides. It should take about 3 to 4 minutes altogether, turning them halfway through to ensure even toasting. Just keep an eye on them -- the pecans will become very fragrant once they're toasted, a good sign that they're done.
Transfer pecans to a high-speed food processor or blender. In the food processor, add the black and regular garlic, arugula, basil, jalapenos, and parmesan. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream, adding enough for the pesto to become a thick yet pourable consistency. The exact consistency is really up to you and your preference. Use as much oil as you see fit.
Transfer the pesto to a serving bowl, and enjoy with crackers and bread for dipping. This pesto will store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also freeze the pesto in either ice cube trays or in plastic or reusable freezer bags for up to 1 year.
NOTE: If you are unable to find black garlic, you can substitute 3 sundried tomatoes instead, which will offer a bright sweetness -- similar to that of the black garlic.