A Twist on an Italian Classic!
In my home juicy tomatoes are very much part of our diet all year round. Nowadays, there are lots of varieties available with exuberant colors and delicate flavors. The tomato can, of course, serve as a principal ingredient in a dish or act as a background for other more assertive ingredients such as anchovy or garlic.
Literally, there are endless ways to enjoy tomatoes but I must say that I like them best in a salad or simply sliced, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with rich peppery-flavored fresh, locally grown basil. For a bit more flair, try pairing your sliced tomatoes with a few slices of rich, scrumptious tasting fresh goat cheese, rather than mozzarella as the Italians do, topped with a generous drizzle of caper and basil dressing or a more vibrant tasting parsley and basil pesto . . . . I have a feeling you will get hooked!
Tomato and Goat cheese Salad with Basil/Caper dressing or Pesto
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 medium sized slicing tomatoes, juicy but not too ripe
2 fresh goat cheese logs (about 150g-200g each)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil – optional
Garnish: Handful of fresh basil leaves and whole or chopped capers
Caper and Basil Dressing
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp capers
1/8 cup fresh chopped basil leaves or to taste
Using a serrated knife, slice each tomato into 3-4 slices and set aside. Slice fresh goat cheese, 2–4 slices, with a sharp knife dipped into warm water and set aside.
Stack tomato and fresh goat cheese slices, alternating as you stack and seasoning each tomato slice with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Place on individual serving plates and set aside.
In a blender, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and capers and puree until smooth. Add fresh basil leaves and puree until you have the desired consistency. Drizzle a bit of dressing over each tomato and fresh goat cheese stack and top with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional). Garnish with basil leaves and capers and serve immediately.
Basil and Parsley Pesto
1 cup spring onions, carefully washed
2 garlic cloves
½ cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups fresh basil leaves - washed
1 ½ cups fresh flat leaf parsley - washed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
1 ½ tblsp balsamic vinegar or to taste
Place spring onions, garlic cloves and chicken stock in food processor and blend until smooth. Add basil leaves, parsley and olive oil and blend until smooth. Lastly, add nuts and vinegar and blend to consistency desired – for a smooth sauce, more and less for a sauce with a bit of crunch!
Both dressings also go well with any type of pasta and grilled or steamed shellfish and fish.The pesto is also great with smoked salmon!
For those who might not like basil, just omit it and make a tangy caper latholemono salad dressing. If you like to take it up a notch just add freshly ground pepper and some lemon zest and enjoy!
© KaritasM – November 2017