Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. For Dip

  2. 8 oz 227g Reduced-fat (not nonfat) cream

  3. Cheese - slightly softened

  4. 4 oz 113g Prepared pesto - (1/2 cup) - seeNote)

  5. For Garnishes

  6. 4 tablespoons 60ml Extra-virgin olive oil - (to 5 tbspns)

  7. 24 French bread

  8. 3/8" thick - preferably cut on

  9. Diagonal from loaf 2 1/2" in diameter

  10. 1 Fennel bulb (large)

  11. 1 Red bell pepper (large)

  12. 1 Green onions

Instructions Jump to Ingredients ↑

  1. * Note: Buy best-quality prepared pesto, preferably one made with basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and/or walnuts.

  2. To prepare dip, process cream cheese and pesto in food processor several seconds until well-blended. (Or combine by hand with rubber spatula in mixing bowl.) Dip can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before using.

  3. To prepare garnishes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place olive oil in small bowl; brush both sides of bread slices lightly with oil. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake on center rack 5 minutes. Turn slices; bake until just golden and crisp, about 5 minutes more. Remove from oven. Toasted bread slices can be prepared 2 hours ahead and kept loosely covered with foil at cool room temperature.

  4. Cut off and discard lacy stalks from fennel bulb, then halve bulb lengthwise and remove and discard tough inner cores. Cut fennel lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide julienne slices.

  5. Remove stem end from pepper, then open up and discard seeds and membranes. Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide julienne strips.

  6. Trim root ends and all but 2 inches of green stems from green onions.

  7. To serve, place pesto dip in small serving bowl; place on serving platter. Surround with toasted baguette slices, fennel, red pepper and green onions.

  8. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.


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