Tomato, mozzarella & basil with pesto
Ah, what a nostalgic little salad we have here – an oldie, but goodie. This salad, for me, takes me right back to lazy hot summer evenings spent in my mum’s countryside garden – we would use tomatoes grown in the garden. This utterly simple, slightly retro and yet amazingly satisfying salad really reminds me of my lovely mum and her partner – this is their go-to fair-weather dinner and I totally get why. It requires NO COOKING whatsoever (well, unless you count toasting some pine nuts, which I don’t) and really lets the beautifully fresh flavours of the three main ingredients shine. And, if like them you have tomatoes and basil growing in your back garden, it couldn’t be easier.
Sadly, I live in Camberwell, not the foothills of the South Downs, and I’m fairly certain that no one has ever successfully grown tomatoes here. I doubt anyone even has a garden. But the local supermarket will do! Just make sure you buy the best ingredients you can find – it’s not worth it with low fat mozzarella or sub-standard, under-ripe tomatoes.
Whilst my mum just simply dresses her prime three ingredients with basil oil and quality balsamic vinegar (yummy in its own right), I’m taking it to a slightly different place by making a fresh pesto, made with basil and a little rocket.
Indeed, I think rocket is really a perfect addition to this simple trio – a peppery flavour and more firm texture. Equally good extras would include slices of ripe avocado, or just a few slices of sourdough bread to mop up the juices. Mmm.
You will need: