Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The intentions of making my own pesto sauce from scratch was certainly there, but something silly like I-killed-my-basil-plant got in the way of my plans. There’s nothing more sad than walking out to my mini-garden and seeing a sad, shriveled and shrunken herb.
Oh poor little thing! You had such potential!
I have a feeling that the mint got a bit jealous and decided the only way to win would be to overgrow and squeeze the poor little basil out. Bad mint! If it wasn’t for Sparkling Ginger Lime and Mint Cooler, I would surely punish by pruning.
So, off to the grocery store I went to buy enough fresh basil to make a batch of pesto.
That is, until I saw the price of fresh herbs at the market.
$3.99 for a small pathetic pinch of basil stems? That’s such a rip-off! Because I can grow herbs pretty much year round here in Florida (during the hot hot summers, the herbs grow on my covered lanai) I can’t remember the last time I bought fresh basil.
Too cheap to spend the money on enough basil to make pesto, I opted for plucking the 4 remaining leaves from my sad plant and bought a jar of prepared basil (same aisle as pasta sauce). Not quite the same as homemade, but cheap, satisfying and I ended up creating a 15 minute appetizer with a pre-baked naan flatbread, a package of Japanese Brown Beech Mushrooms (from client Hokto) and a half an onion in the refrigerator.
It’s the quickest gourmet-y appetizer ever and I love using naan flatbreads as the base. It’s pre-baked, which is a fantastic shortcut for when I don’t have time to roll out my own pizza dough. Naan is Indian-style flatbread, normally baked in a clay oven (though I doubt these commercials ones are) and I’m just in love with the irregular teardrop shapes. You can substitute with pita bread, double-stacked flour tortillas) if you can’t find naan.
The mushrooms are flexible too. I’m using brown beech mushrooms, but sub with any type of fresh mushroom you’d like.
And hey, if you’ve got better luck with basil than I have (just remember to keep the jealous mint plant away from the basil), feel free to make your home made pesto.
Japanese Mushroom Flatbread Recipe
Ingredients:1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups Japanese Brown Beech Mushrooms (or other Asian mushrooms like fresh shiitake)
1/2 small onion, very thinly sliced
1 large piece naan flatbread, about 8x14 inches
2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
3 to 4 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, when hot, add the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and the onions, and saute until slightly soft, about 2 minutes.
3. On the flatbread, spread the basil pesto, avoiding the outer one inch edge. Top the flat bread with the mozzarella cheese. Add the mushroom and onion mixture; and top with the parmesan cheese.
4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the flatbread is toasted. Sprinkle with the fresh basil.