Garden fresh basil…you are finally mine!
Normally, I will “lift” a plant of basil from the garden each year and bring it indoors to have fresh basil all winter long. Last year, I couldn’t get to it in time and it was lost. To say I was distraught is an understatement. Imagine my excitement as the basil thrived and grew and I could make tons and tons of fresh pesto!
We love pesto around here…it’s practically a food group. If my kids could get it down with a straw, they would probably drink it. On pasta, on chicken or as a bread dip, it’s fresh flavor is unlike no other. And, one of our favorite ways to use it is as a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich with pesto.
To make the sandwich, you will need to first make your pesto sauce. That will need 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup pine nuts (or sunflower seeds work well, too), 1 cup of olive oil, and 3 cups of loosely packed, fragrant, perfumy, garden fresh basil.
Strip the basil leaves off the stems and rinse. In a blender or food processor, add the garlic and nuts and mix on high speed for about 30 seconds. Turn off, add the salt, lemon juice, basil and cheese. Pour the oil in 1/4 cup at a time while blending on high. You want it to be more on the thick side, so you may not need the full cup.
Taste for salt levels and add more if necessary.
To make this delicious grilled turkey and cheese with pesto, simply butter two slices of bread. On the opposite side of the butter, slather pesto on one of the slices of bread. Stack with provolone cheese and smoked turkey. Top with the unbuttered side of the other slice of bread.
Grill lightly until golden brown, flip and grill until lightly brown on the other side. Serve hot.
Freeze any leftover pesto, or store in the fridge for up to a week.