I really, really like walnuts. They manage to be vaguely sweet but still meaty and they have this slight bitterness that goes with, well, everything. I like the way they round out the sweetness in these amazing walnut tartlets in the archives that I’m certain get overlooked by everyone but me, and contrast the sweet figs in this biscotti.
But I think they get especially awesome in savory applications, and not just as an accent to pasta or a salad. This “pesto” caught my eye — in an article about wine bars moving beyond serving the ubiquitous olives and cheese plates, something I can totally get behind — because it’s not basil pesto with a few walnuts for good measure, it’s not an olive tapenade with crunch, it’s actually a base of coarsely ground walnuts picked up with garlic, sherry vinegar and sundried tomatoes.
Even better, it took five minutes to put together which is equally perfect for those of you who are looking for some quick fixes for a New Years Eve party and those of, well, me who can only find about five minutes to spare each day, or at least until we hire a little extra help next month. Shh, don’t tell Jacob!
For Your Next Party: All gathered in one place, and finally updated. Thanks Alex!
Walnut Pesto Crostini
Adapted slightly from Jody Williams at Gottino in the West Village
Makes a dozen or so toasts
1 cup shelled walnuts, even better if you toast and cool them first
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 sprigs of thyme, cleaned
Small splash of sherry vinegar (I used a generous splash and felt it dominated too much; go easy)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes (oil or dry-packed will both work)
1 loaf country bread, or a baguette, sliced
In food processor, coarsely grind walnuts, cheese, garlic, thyme, salt and vinegar. Stir in oil and tomatoes.
Grill or toast bread. While hot, top each slice with a heaping teaspoon of pesto.