RECIPE

Caesar-Style Kale Pesto for Fish, Sliced Steak or Chicken

Flavorful pesto made from Caesar-style kale is a nutritious topping for your choice of fish, chicken or steak, or you can pile it on pasta or vegetables for variation. Marinate chicken or steak for a few hours before cooking.

Ingredients

For the Caesar-style Kale Pesto:

  • 2 bundles flat Tuscan kale or black kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (5-6 cups, packed)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (2 small handfuls)
  • 2 rounded teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated or pasted
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 2 lemons, divided

For the fish:

  • 4 whole fillets Branzino or red snapper
  • For outdoor grill preparation, wooden fish boards, soaked
  • Seafood seasoning

For the steak or chicken:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 – 4 sprigs of rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 2 – 3 spring onions or scallions, whites and greens, chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 4 – 6 boneless steaks or chicken breasts
  • Sea or Kosher salt and black pepper

Preparation

For the pesto, bring a pot of water to a boil; salt it and add kale. Cook for 1 full minute, then remove with tongs to a cold water bath to cool and squeeze out all the liquid in a clean kitchen towel. Add the dry kale, now 2-3 cups total, to a food processor along with the EVOO, cheese, anchovy paste, garlic, nuts, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon and the juice of 1 lemon. Process the pesto sauce until almost smooth. Use on fish, meat or pasta.

For fish, pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Place a rack one level above center. Arrange the fillets skin-side down on a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet and season with seafood seasoning. Spread an even layer of pesto across each fillet, covering the flesh completely. Roast until the fish is white, flaky and opaque, 15-18 minutes. For an outdoor grill, soak wooden fish boards in water, then arrange 1 fillet on each board and top with fish seasoning and pesto. Grill over medium to medium-high heat, covered, until the fish is white and flaky. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon over the cooked fish and serve.

For the steak or chicken, place the EVOO, garlic, rosemary, scallions and lemon slices in a large resealable plastic bag. Season the steaks or chicken with salt and pepper, add to the bag and marinate for a few hours or up to overnight. Grill on a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium-high heat, 12 minutes for chicken and 8-10 minutes for steak 1-1 1/2-inches thick. Let the meat stand for a few minutes, then slice on an angle for chicken or against the grain for steaks. Top with the pesto sauce; serve with warm crusty bread alongside.

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