If you were an herb, which herb would you be? Were you voted "Most Popular" in high school? Maybe you'd be basil. Are you a well-rounded person? Perhaps parsley best represents your personality. Are you a bit shy or mellow, someone others think of as laid back? Chives might be the herb you relate to best. As for me, I'm all about pizzazz. My fiery Italian temper immediately calls to mind rocket, best known as arugula. Yes, I'd have to say arugula is the herb that I would be. With that in mind, I decided to treat myself to a special little pre-birthday lunch. Flipping through the pages of my copy of Stirring the Pot, I jumped on Tyler's Grilled Brie and Tomato on Crusty Bread. I had bought a lovely baguette and some rocket at a local farmers' market and had a piece of brie just waiting in the wings. I've made pesto with any number of herbs, so an arugula pesto sounded like a terrific variation.
My special lunch went together very quickly and I have a good-sized jar of pesto leftover to enjoy, perhaps in a pasta or maybe a chicken entree.
4 cups arugula
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 baguette, thick bias-cut slices (I sliced in half and used half for one portion)
extra virgin olive oil
ripe tomato, sliced
1/2 lb brie, sliced thin
For the arugula pesto:
In a food processor combine the arugula, basil, garlic, and pine nuts and process until the mixture becomes a smooth puree. With the motor running, slowly pour the 1/2 cup of oil through the feed tube until you get a spreadable consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat grill to medium OR, do as I did and use the broiler. Drizzle the bread slices with oil and grill about 1 minute per side. Remove bread from the grill and spread each slice with some of the pesto. Add a layer of sliced tomato and some brie. Grill until the cheese melts and the bread is nicely toasted.
Turning 60 is a huge milestone. Being able to enjoy a glass of Corvo and a lovely, toasty adult version of grilled cheese is one of the upsides of getting older.