Toasting the garlic along with the walnuts tames its potent raw flavor. Adding the fennel seeds and fresh time to the skillet the last couple of minutes brings out their flavor as well.
Straight out of the food processor, this pesto need a little time to calm down, so make sure to let it rest a bit before serving.
Just like its basil cousin, this pesto is perfect for topping pizza, tossing with pasta, and stirring into soups and cooked vegetables.
1 cup walnuts
2 large whole garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
4 cups massaged kale
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Place walnuts and garlic in a medium skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan often until fragrant 4 to 5 minutes. Add thyme and fennel. Continue to toast until nuts and fennel darken in color, a couple of minutes longer. Immediately turn into a food processor and process until ground. Add kale; process, once again, until ground. Add oil and pulse to combine. Add a sprinkling of salt and several grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Let stand for flavors to meld and develop, at least 30 minutes and up to a couple of hours. Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several weeks or frozen for several months.