Summer Crostini with Garden Pestos

crostini with garden pestos Now that summer is in full swing there’s usually always something to harvest daily from our veggie garden, some days it’s just a few stalks of kale or swiss chard, a tiny bunch of broccolini or a few cherry tomatoes. Nothing yet to make a huge meal from, but perfect for making small bites!

garden basil One thing I do have an abundance of right now are fresh herbs, the rain just exploded their growth. Basil, mint, thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage and tarragon are growing all over the place and I feel so guilty if I don’t use them all!

garden herbs I was recently gifted with some garlic scapes, (thanks Julie and Ken) so I thought making a few different pestos would be the perfect way to start using up all my bounty.

homemade garden pestos So I made my trusty Basil Pesto, and tried out two new ones, Pea and Mint, and Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto. If you use your food processor you can whip these up in no time! Pesto’s are so versatile you can put them in and on just about anything, pastas, grilled meats, soups, pizzas, veggies, fish, omelettes, I could go on and on, I even throw some in when making egg salad!

crostini with garden pestos Another fun way to eat up your pestos is to slather some on top of  crostini. Crostini are thin slices of toasted bread drizzled with olive oil and garnished with  endless possibilities. By adding  in your favorite charcuterie, grilled veggies, various cheeses, good olives, fresh fruit, etc. you can create an elegant antipasti, lunch or dinner, just don’t forget the wine!

crostini with garden pestos I was in love with this recipe the minute I saw it, a crusty piece of bread topped with pea and mint pesto, creamy Burrata cheese and a slice of prosciutto, this is to die for, it’s a meal in itself! The only thing I changed up in the recipe was the cheese, I used grated parmesan for mine.

If you don’t want to use meat try some thinly sliced grilled zucchini to replace it.   Again, I repeat, to die for!

crostini with garden harvest Here are some other ideas for crostini using up whatever you might have growing in your gardens.

crostini with garden harvest Roasted tomato slices topped with basil pesto***** Mascarpone cheese topped with garlic scape and kale pesto, roasted mushrooms, leeks and thyme*****

Ricotta topped with garlic and red pepper sauteed broccolini***** Goat cheese topped with garlic and red pepper sauteed swiss chard*****

crostini with garden harvest It’s all good! Small bites, big flavor, simple and sophisticated!

Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto
  • 2 garlic scapes cut in chunks
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed
  • ⅓ cup toasted almonds or walnuts
  • ⅓ cup grated romano cheese
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  1. In a food processor add garlic scapes, nuts and kale, pulsing until chopped up fine.
  2. Add in cheese, red pepper and salt and pepper, process until incorporated.
  3. While machine is running, pour olive oil down the tube until you get a loose consistency.
  4. Cover and refrigerate.



Making Basil Oil

basil oilOne of the absolute joys of summer for me is to walk out into my garden and pick fresh basil leaves when ever I feel like it. I have basil growing all over my backyard, in pots and in the ground. Our seasons are so short here that I have to get it while I can. I’m not the gardener in my family, the husband is, but he takes great direction from me concerning how many plants I want even if I go a little overboard!
fresh garden basil This was a stellar year for basil, all the leaves were vibrant and lush, perfect for pesto and my new found love, basil infused olive oil!

Making basil oil is so simple and the end result is so amazing, trust me you’ll want to drizzle it all over your fish, meat, vegetables, eggs and crusty toasted bread! I had my sweet granddaughter help me in the process picking the leaves, check out her green toes!
making basil oil All it takes is just a few short steps and you’re finished, and a little goes a very long way. Put some in a pretty glass bottle and hand it off to your friends and family, they will love it!

basil oilGive the 3 ingredients a quick whirl in a blender or a food processor until nice and pureed. Check out that beautiful color you can tell by looking at it how good it’s going to taste!
basil oil When it’s finished you can choose to strain it through cheesecloth for a more refined and clear result or just leave it as is, I did it both ways to show you, but either way the flavor is dynamic!

Here it is not strained dripping over a tomato and mozzarella stack sprinkled with flaky sea salt. To-die-for!
 And here it is pictured above strained through cheesecloth, clear and still vibrant green. I made this for breakfast the other day, crusty toasted Italian bread drizzled with basil oil, layered with bacon, sliced tomatoes and a sunny side up egg drizzled with more basil oil. Another to-die-for!  Thanks M-A for the inspiration!

Basil Oil
  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  1. Wash basil leaves then blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute.
  2. Remove and place in an ice bath to cool down.
  3. Squeeze out water and dry with paper towel.
  4. Place blanched basil, the oil and salt into a blender or food processor and puree.
  5. Let it settle a little then pour into a glass container.
  6. Use immediately or refrigerate. Flavors are even more intense the next day.
  7. Keeps for 1 week refrigerated.