Arugula Pesto with Balsamic Grilled Steak

One thing I like about living in this area is that we have a great community with people coming together.  One person who does a ton in this town is Luca who owns a fabulous restaurant a short walk from our home.  His children also go to the same school as my son and Luca has been wonderful in supporting our PTA activities.  We got to chatting recently and I mentioned how much our daughter loves to cook and he thought it would be great for her to be on his local cooking show.  How cool is that?  She is very excited about that prospect!  Of course I checked out the show and found a fabulous recipe and asked if I could feature it on my blog and here we are.  🙂

Here is a link to his show A Culinary Journey and the recipe I’m featuring is the salmon dish near the bottom of the screen.  Now you’ve probably noticed that I am not making a salmon dish.  Try as my husband might he just can’t develop a taste for fish.  And he has tried.  So I thought this would be perfect with a nice grilled steak.  I kept the steak simple with a garlic balsamic marinade.  Just the balsamic, chopped garlic, and olive oil.  Salt and pepper the steak and add to the marinade about an hour ahead of time.

I had a tough time finding arugula as the season has been weird so I had to get some at the co-op.  And the only hazelnuts I could find had the skins on them.  I’ve never cooked with hazelnuts but I knew I didn’t want the skins.  After a bit of research on the internet I found a few tips pointing to the same technique.

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Boil a couple of cups of water.  Then add 3 T of baking soda.  It will foam up quite a bit.  Boil the hazelnuts for about 3 minutes then plunge in cold water.

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It’s messy but the skins come off easily.

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Next the hazelnuts need to be roasted.  Everyone says when roasting nuts to roast until you get a nice nutty smell.  I don’t have a sense of smell.  So I had to keep a close eye on them because you don’t want to burn them, just get them golden.

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While they are roasting, and that doesn’t take too long, prep the rest of the pesto.  In a food processor throw in a couple of handfuls of arugula.

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Add about 1/2 cup of parmesan, a good pinch of sea salt, and then pulse it to blend.  Add the hazelnuts.

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Pulse to blend then as you are processing drizzle the olive oil in to bring it all together.  Add a bit at a time until you get the right consistency.  You don’t want it dry but you don’t want it goopy either.

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To add a bit of brightness I added a bit of lemon juice as well.

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I grilled up the steak and while it was resting I added a few drops of real balsamic vinegar to give the flavours more depth.

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To serve I sliced the steak then grated parmesan over the meat.  Then I added the pesto to the steak.  I served this with roasted potatoes and corn.

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This can be a bit strong for people so be careful how much you put on their dish.  I loved the strong flavour but my husband, while he really liked it, wanted a bit less on the steak.  Overall we’ll be having it again though.  🙂