Now that summer is in full swing and the tomatoes are falling off the vines, we can’t wait to harvest them or buy them at the farmers’ markets and share the bounty with our friends. Early Girl, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Cherry, Yellow Pear, Heirlooms, this week we’re all about salads, salsas, gazpacho…. and more. We’re on the attack with our favorite tomato recipes and we hope you’ll tell us about yours!
Pistachio Pesto Caprese Towers
This dish screams summer’s best. Pistachios are the secret to this delicious pesto recipe from Olive Hill Farms. Joan first tasted this pesto at the Santa Barbara’s Farmers Market on a thickly sliced Purple Cherokee tomato. We make these towers as often as possible in the summer when vine ripened tomatoes (especially Cherokee Purple) are available. We serve the towers as a first course salad on a bed of arugula or as a side dish with grilled chicken or steak, and it’s a great addition to a summer buffet. No matter which way you serve them, be prepared for rave reviews.
Ingredients for the pistachio pesto:
4 cups packed fresh basil leaves
5 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
I cup pistachios (raw)
1 cup olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Ingredients for the Caprese towers:
3 – 4 vine-ripened medium tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh burrata cheese, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
balsamic vinegar for drizzling
kosher salt and pepper
Directions for the pistachio pesto:
Wash and dry basil leaves. Put garlic in food processor and chop fine. Pack in basil leaves and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add pistachios. With motor running, add oil in a thin stream through the feed tube. Process until mixture is smooth. Remove from food processor and mix with grated Parmesan cheese.
Directions for the Caprese towers:
Slather two tomato slices with pistachio pesto, Place a slice of burrata on one tomato slice, then a basil leaf and top with the second tomato slice and another basil leaf. Repeat process. Place towers on a shallow serving dish. Drizzle the towers with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper to taste.