I love late spring! Next to autumn, it’s one of my favorite seasons. The fresh smells of lilac in the air. The cool droplets of rain on your skin make the season what it is, a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy taking long walks after a gentle spring rain, taking in deep breaths of the fresh, clean air. There is something so fresh and lovely about this time of year, especially when it comes to the produce. Bushels of strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, and herbs galore begin sprouting up out of the ground in a display of vibrant-colored wonder. I love this time of year, when spring is gently transitioning into summer.
I discovered pesto butter a year or so ago. It was at this little, hole-in-the-wall burger joint about a fifteen-minute drive from my parents’ place. I’m not the biggest burger fan, so I had their grilled chicken sandwich with a cilantro feta pesto butter and it was outstanding! I went straight home and developed a recipe myself and since then I’ve been in love.
I thought that the combination of mint and goat cheese would work well together as a pesto. Mint is a strong and aromatic herb, with a sweet and cool aftertaste while goat cheese is subtle, with a tangy and creamy flavor. The two balanced each other out beautifully. You could say that these flavors were “mint” to be.
My original intentions were to make a sunny side egg and place it on top of the pesto on toast. Though after trying the pesto butter, my mother suggested making a fresh berry compote to go on top instead. The combination of the savory pesto with the sweet-tartness of the compote made for a multi-flavorful combination. I had a bag of strawberries in my fridge, so I decided to cook them down with some sugar, vinegar, honey, agave nectar, and lemon juice and drizzle that mixture on top of the toast. Delicious! This is definitely a brunch lover’s paradise. This recipe may seem to be a tad more refined for breakfast, but it can honestly be enjoyed anytime. Brew yourself a cup of coffee, turn on the radio, and enjoy a delicious spread.
Mint Goat Cheese Pesto Butter & Fresh Berry Compote on Toast
For the pesto butter
- ¼ cup almonds
- 1 tablespoon basil, chopped
- 2/3 cup mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ cup goat cheese, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the compote
- 16 oz. strawberries, sliced
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey or 1 tablespoon honey + 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon water + 1 teaspoon corn starch (optional)
For the cinnamon toast
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons sugar
For the pesto butter.
In a large food processor, pulse together the basil, mint, almonds, and garlic for about 30 seconds or until rough crumbs form. Add the honey, goat cheese, and lemon juice and pulse until a paste begins to form, about 1 minute. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until incorporated. Add the softened butter and pulse until combined. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge until needed.
For the compote.
In a medium saucepan combine the strawberries, sugar, red wine vinegar, honey, agave (optional), and lemon juice. Heat mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the strawberries begin to soften and let out their juices. Stir occasionally until mixture begins to form a thick syrup, about 8 to 10 minutes. If mixture is too thin, add a slurry of equal parts water and corn starch. Remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container. Refrigerate before serving.
For the cinnamon toast.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, cinnamon, and sugar until well combined. Spread butter over pieces of bread lined on a baking sheet. Toast bread for 6 to 7 minutes or until butter is melted and toast is lightly golden brown.
Nathaniel Crawford is a college student (studying Hospitality Management), amateur recipe developer, budding photographer, learned culinary writer, and a person who stutters. For more of his recipes, check out Terminatetor Kitchen.