Pesto Change-o

A fresh take on pesto from Wildwood Kitchen

You won't find butter or cream at Wildwood Kitchen in Bethesda, Maryland. In an effort to lighten his food, Robert Wiedmaier, along with chefs Paul Stearman and Brian McBride, has done away with both.

Wildwood Kitchen's menu is inspired by the 23 countries surrounding the Mediterranean, from Italy to Turkey and Tunisia and back again. None of the dishes served at the restaurant incorporate either butter or cream, both of which are usually strongholds in most restaurant kitchens.

Rather than masking ingredients, the chefs put flavor front and center, turning to spices and infused olive oils to impart taste to such dishes as snapper en papillote and scallops with eggplant jam. Their goal? To create a neighborhood restaurant where locals can feel good about dining out several times a week.

Our Test Kitchen sampled the restaurant's broccoli rabe pesto (see the recipe), which would be equally delicious tossed with pasta or spread on crostini for a holiday or New Year's party. In the recipe, the blanched bitter vegetable is puréed with dry salted capers and anchovy fillets, as well as garlic and whole-grain mustard, for a brinier take on the classic condiment.

Butter can butt out.