Originally, this fennel, dill, and parsley pesto was to be served over a poached whole fish. But the fish was, um, bad. Really bad. So instead, I made a dinner out of nice bread spread with a touch of butter and this fresh pesto. This differs from a traditional pesto because its cooked in some white wine to help tame the assertive flavors of the fennel and dill. It still has that herbacious, garlicky, nutty flavor of a traditional pesto, though.
This is a really great way to use up the lovely fennel fronds that you get when you purchase a bulb of fennel. Because of their strong anise flavor, its sometimes hard to figure out ways to use them. But a pesto is the perfect application, because it allows the strong flavors of the fennel to shine and balances them out with pungent garlic, creamy olive oil, and the nutty flavor of whatever nut you choose to add. The positive outcome of this dish made me feel not too terribly bad about the awful failure of the fish I had tried to cook, so I thought it was worth a post despite its simplicity.
Triple Herb and Almond Pesto
4 cups fennel fronds, loosely packed
2 cups dill fronds, loosely packed
2 cups flat leaf parsley, loosely packed
1/2 cup almonds
4-5 cloves garlic
2-3 tbs. olive oil
1 cup white wine
Using a food processor or blender, finely chop almonds and garlic. Add herbs and finely chop as well. With machine running, add olive oil.
Transfer to a medium sauce pan. Add white wine. Simmer over medium-low heat until most reduced.
Serve, as pictured, on bread with a light smear of butter, with fish, or with pasta.