Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Recipe

Red pepper crustini top

Not all dishes that use modernist ingredients have to be super fancy in-your-face dishes that look like they came from Alinea. This red pepper pesto crustini is a great example. It is a simple, hearty snack that is great when served as an appetizer or set out as hors d'oeuvres.

The pesto is made up of a puree of roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, and some herbs and spices. Xanthan gum is added to the puree to help bind it together, but depending on the juiciness of the peppers it can be left out if desired. It is a take off from the roasted red pepper pesto in Modernist Cuisine at Home.

The crustini is simply a sliced baguette, brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven. In summer, you can also grill the slices for added flavor and texture. The pesto is spooned onto the crustini and a few garnishes, such as sliced red peppers and basil, are added for visual appeal and extra flavor. If you are using these for a party you can simply set out a basket of crustini next to a bowl of the pesto and let people serve themselves.

Roasted Red Pepper Xanthan Pesto Tools Needed

If you like this recipe you can get more than 80 other recipes from my book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Getting Started. The book covers many of the popular modernist techniques such as gelling, spherification, and foams. It also explores modernist ingredients like agar, sodium alginate, tapioca maltodextrin, and xanthan gum. It is all presented in an easy to understand format and I think it's the best way to learn about modernist cooking.

Also, if you are just getting started experimenting with molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine then I highly recommend one of these molecular gastronomy kits. They have everything you need to do many different dishes.

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Roasted Red Pepper Xanthan Pesto Crustini Recipe

  • Published: January 20, 2012
  • By Jason Logsdon
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes time

Roasted Red Pepper Xanthan Pesto Ingredients

For the Crustini

1 baguette, cut into 1/4" slices (7mm)
Olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the Red Pepper Pesto

2 red peppers
2 shallots, sliced roughly
5 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cashews
3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Xanthan gum, 0.2% to 0.5% by weight, optional

Roasted Red Pepper Xanthan Pesto Instructions

Xanthan red pepper pesto

For the Crustini

Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).

Lay the pieces of baguette out on a sheet pan in a single layer. Brush the side facing up with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake until the crustini starts to turn brown. Remove the sheet pan and let the crustini cool slightly.

They can be stored, covered, in a dry place for several hours if needed.

For the Red Pepper Pesto

Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).

Cut the sides off of the peppers and place skin side up on a sheet pan with raised edges. Add the shallots and garlic to the sheet pan. Drizzle everything with olive oil then salt and pepper it.

Place the pan in the oven and bake until the peppers have softened and just begun to brown, about 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool briefly.

Place the peppers, shallots, and garlic in the blender or food processor. Add the cashews, mint, olive oil, and white wine vinegar. Process until smooth. Taste for seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar as needed to balance the flavors.

For a thicker pesto, weigh the ingredients for the pesto before blending. Measure out 0.2% to 0.5% xanthan gum by weight. Sprinkle the xanthan gum into the pesto and blend as instructed above.

Because xanthan gum is a modernist ingredient, the amounts for this component are given in metric by weight. Learn more about how to measure modernist ingredients in this article.

The pesto can be stored at room temperature for a few hours or in the refrigerator for a few days.

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Jason logsdon headshot This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the website.
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