Learn to Make – Chef Clement’s Asian Pesto Recipe + 3 Ways to Use It!

Chef-Clement

Chef Clement runs a healthy lifestyle bakery & gourmet takeaway, Simply Eden. He’s passionately obsessed about whole foods – one conversation with him will take you from bread, to chocolate, to protecting our earth – all seamlessly intertwined.

Constantly experimenting, Chef plays all day in his kitchen, combining flavours like sun-dried tomato and chocolate, baking breads from ground flowers… (both of which I tried – amazing!)  He’s living his passion and what I love is that he shares it. He teaches workshops to make the very recipes that he sells in his bakery, inspiring people to play and become confident in the kitchen.

When I asked him to share a recipe with you, I told him it could be anything – and he thought about it for a few days. Then I get a call and he says to me, “Pesto! I want to show everyone how to not only make a recipe, but how to make the most out of it so that there’s no waste. With this one pesto, they’ll be able to make breakfast, lunches and dinners!”

Not just a recipe – but kitchen philosophy… let’s do it! It wasn’t until I saw his “pesto” ingredients, did I realize – Chef had been playing with this recipe too…

Pesto-Ingredients

This recipe uses the traditional pesto flavours of olive oil and parmesan cheese – but here’s where it takes an Eastern turn.

Sweet Basil – You know that forgotten half-packet of limp basil in your fridge… maybe you’re not sure what to do with it? It’s perfect for this dish. Chef Clement’s face lit up as he talked about making use of  aesthetically-challenged ingredients that often get chucked into the bin. As if rooting for an underdog, “It’s a little bruised, but so what, it’s full of flavour!”

Mint – This is a common flavour match to sweet basil – it lifts and brightens the dish.

Ginger Blossom (rojak flower) – A member of the ginger family, rojak’s demeanour is much more gentle. It imparts a light, almost floral taste with a citrus touch. I think this is what gives the pesto its unique  freshness – a flavour which transported me to a day at the beach, with a fruity drink and umbrella.

Candlenuts – This is a nut found in Asia with a very mild flavour, but gives the pesto its body. You can substitute this for any nut (pine, almond, walnut). Chef Clement likes to use what’s available, fresh and local. Candlenuts can be slightly hard to digest for sensitive stomachs. If that’s the case for you, Chef recommends not eating them raw – lightly toast the pesto in a pan, before eating.

As we examined and talked about each ingredient, Chef Clement tossed it into the blender. Quite beautifully, the pieces came together into one emerald green concentration of flavours and aromas.

Pesto-Blended

Chef Clement’s Asian Pesto Recipe

ingredients:

  • 50g sweet basil
  • 100g mint
  • 1 stalk ginger blossom (rojak flower)
  • 4 candlenuts (or handful of your nut of choice)
  • parmesan cheese to taste
  • drizzle  of olive oil

directions: 

  • blend all of the ingredients together

Once you make your pesto, store in a glass jar, drizzle oil over the top to keep it fresh. It will last for 3 weeks. Pesto is a solid investment: for 10 minutes of prep work, you’ll enjoy an abundance of effortless meals.

CHEF’S TIP: Do not add salt to the pesto, it draws out water and causes it to spoil quicker. Instead, season each serving as you eat it.

Here are 3 ways you can use your pesto – breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Toastie

Cheesy Pesto Toastie Recipe

ingredients

  • crusty bread (If you’re in Singapore, you must try Chef’s chia seed loaf!)
  • 1 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • toppings of choice (tomato, sliced onion, micro greens… or what ever makes you smile)

directions:

  1. blend equal parts of pesto to cream cheese
  2. spread your mixture over the bread, sprinkle over salt & pepper
  3. place it in the oven to toast the bread and warm the cheesy pesto
  4. add your toppings

CHEF’S TIP: Chef Clement recommends this dish, not just for breakfast but also as a party appetizer. Prepare the toastie and then slice the bread into bite sizes to serve.

Pesto-Pasta

Quick Pesto Pasta Recipe

ingredients:

  • 150g cooked pasta
  • 2 tsp pesto
  • 6 slices of mushrooms
  • 6 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh basil to taste

directions:

  1. heat up the olive oil, season the oil with salt & pepper
  2. add in the cooked pasta, cook for a minute
  3. add the pesto and cherry tomatoes, cook for another minute
  4. lastly, toss in the mushrooms and cook for one minute
  5. garnish with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese

Foil-Packet

Foil Packet Pesto Baked Fish Recipe

ingredients:

  • white fish fillet
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • slices of tomato
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & paper to taste
  • foil paper

directions:

  1. pre-heat oven to 200 c / 400 f
  2. cut a large piece of foil paper and small piece of parchment paper
  3. lay the fish fillet over the parchment, in the center of the foil paper, sprinkle with salt and pepper
  4. In a bowl, combine the pesto and cream cheese
  5. spread wholegrain mustard over the fish
  6. next, spread on the cream cheese pesto
  7. place sliced tomatoes on top and basil
  8. drizzle over olive oil to prevent the fish from sticking to the foil
  9. wrap the fish by folding in half and sealing the ends by making one inch folds until it’s at the fish
  10. bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes

Pesto-Fish

Singapore Shopping Guide

  • Order basil, mint and ginger blossom (grown here in Singapore) from Green Circle
  • candlenuts can be found in many wet markets

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