The coast ranges of Central Oregon don't really have much in common with the coast ranges of Italy's Campagna. More maples and pines, not so many olives and cedars. But we found Campagna Gourmet's delectable Olive and Sundried Tomato Pesto at a country farm stand on the main road from Salem (not Salerno) to Pacific City, and snagged a jar for beach picnicking.
... Which we totally forgot to do. As I was putting away some of the last bits from the wedding trip (read: The "Where the heck are we going to put this?!" boxes) I spied the jar, along with a Hot Pepper Jelly (from the same company) we picked up at the same time.
Pestos are usually loaded with Parmesan cheese, so finding a vegan pesto is always a bonus. The texture is spot-on. It has a smooth yet coarse mouth feel, with just the right amount of oiliness, and little flavor bursts from the herbs.
As a spread, though, the richness of the sundried tomatoes and the oily delight of the olives is overwhelmed by the salt content. Unfortunately, it's just too salty. What this product is perfectly suited for is blending; it would be an exquisite base for puttanesca sauce, or folded into hummous for a flavor boost.
I love savoury pancakes, and the pesto makes a perfect addition (as well as a garnish). Normally my savoury pancakes are full of veggies in varying combinations, but in the interest of letting the pesto take the spotlight, I've simply added some fresh tomatoes and chopped sweet onions. I used amaranth and millet from my bulk grain jars, coarse-milled just before cooking in my coffee grinder for maximum freshness! :)
The pesto adds an intense depth to these rustic cakes, set off by the sweetness of the onions and tomatoes. The kale, with its dark, bitter overtones, is the perfect complement.
2/3 cup millet flour
2/3 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 1/4 cups unsweetened soymilk
1/4 cup Campagna Olive and Sundried Tomato Pesto
2 roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise and sliced (into little half-moons)
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1 small bunch of basil, chopped
Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Fold in soymilk and mix thoroughly. Then, add Campagna (I just like saying it - say it with me now: Caaampaagnaaa) Pesto, tomatoes, basil, and chopped onion.
Dip a 1/4 cup measure into the batter and pour into a large frying pan over medium heat (about three per batch). Cook on one side until the bubbles pop and batter doesn't sink back in.
When the down side arrives at a nice dark golden brown, flip! When the second side reaches the same color, go ahead and take 'em out. Next round...
Be sure to serve them hot and crispy, as they lose that nice texture after sitting a while. If you must let them stand, try putting them on a wire grate rather than a platter.
Garnish with chiffonaded basil, a dollop of the pesto and some simple kale (below). Makes about 18 pancakes.
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
6 kale leaves, stemmed & chopped
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying
In a pan, warm oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until golden. Toss in kale leaves, lemon juice and vinegar, and saute for about a minute, just until the kale brightens in color. Transfer to a bowl to prevent overcooking.