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Fennel and Fig Pesto

photo: Scott Phillips

Yield: about 2 cups

The sweetness of fig contrasts the tingly heat of fresh ginger and the bright acidity of grapefruit. Serve as part of a cheese course or on crostini.


  • 1 medium fennel bulb (about 1 lb.), trimmed, cut lengthwise into quarters, and cored (reserve the fronds)
  • 1 large head garlic, top 1/2 inch cut off to expose the cloves
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 oz. dried figs (2 to 3), preferably dark
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated Asiago
  • 1 tsp. finely grated Ruby Red grapefruit zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh Ruby Red grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size 1/4 cup
  • Calories (kcal) : 260
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 90
  • Fat (g): 10
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Cholesterol (mg): 40
  • Sodium (mg): 240
  • Carbohydrates (g): 21
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Sugar (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 22


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 425°F.
  • Put the fennel and garlic on a small rimmed baking sheet, toss with 1 Tbs. of the oil, and season lightly with salt. Cover with foil and roast until very soft, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Transfer the fennel to a food processor. Squeeze the cloves from the garlic bulb (or remove with a knife), and add to the processor. Add the remaining 1/2 cup oil, the walnuts, figs, cheese, zest and juice, ginger, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Process until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved fennel fronds and pulse until combined but with some green flecks, 4 to 5 times. Season to taste with salt. Use right away, or cover and refrigerate.


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