Basic Pesto & Cod with a Pesto Crust

003I understand why people buy their pesto in a jar. I do. I understand that there may be a misapprehension about it taking time or effort, or that the ingredients may be many, varied and costly. I understand some people are just not going to be bothered to make anything like that from scratch. Totally get all that. However, I do make my pesto from scratch for two reasons – I usually already have the ingredients (I have a basil plant on my windowsill, and I just can’t imagine life without garlic, olive oil & parmesan cheese) but the main reason, the real reason is that the result is just a world away from anything you can buy in a jar for almost no effort. And for a quick pasta sauce or a topping for meat and fish, I’m more than happy to spend the 5 2 minutes it takes to whizz it up. I always make mine in a food processor , but you can do it in a pestle and mortar. (WARNING: May take longer than 2 minutes doing it this way!). This will keep in a jar in the fridge for a couple of days, but I would really recommend eating straight away – and for this reason the recipe I’ve given really only serves 2. This version from the Zilli Cookbook.

  • 20-24 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 25g Parmesan cheese/
  • 15g pine nuts
  • 45ml extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper


Put the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts & parmesan in your food processor, and whizz for 20-30 seconds. If you can keep the food processor on while adding the olive oil, do so in a steady stream until its all combined, all well and good. If like me, you can’t, put the olive oil in and whizz again for about 20 seconds. Thats really it.

So when you’ve done that, you might like to try this fish dish. If you don’t really want to make your own pesto, that’s alright( whisper it..), A Jar is Still OK for this. Alternatively, if you live anywhere near a good deli, they might sell it fresh over the counter. This dish goes best with a nice fresh salad, in my opinion.

pesto cod post oven

Serves 2 greedy people:

  • helping of pesto for 2 (see above)
  • 2 cod fillets, roughly 150-200g each
  • 20g butter
  • 30g breadcrumbs
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper.

Preheat the oven to gasmark 6. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, remove from the heat and add breadcrumbs, juice & zest. Don’t overmix, just combine the ingredients. It will look a bit mushy anyway, however that’s alright.  When cool, add the pesto and mix well. Divide and pat the mixture quite firmly onto the fish. Put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Scoff.


2 Responses to Basic Pesto & Cod with a Pesto Crust

  1. Mr Origami says:

    Pesto….’tis the devils….paste!! :o(

  2. Greedy Rosie says:

    Oh dear. I guess that means you haven’t been doing it right!

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