When the tomatoes are plentiful in the garden (or at the Farmer’s Market), it means that so is the basil. This refreshing and quick salad is perfect for nights (or summer afternoons) when no one wants to cook, but everyone is hungry. While store bought pesto
(pistou in French) is fine, home made is best.
*Please note: if anyone at your table has a nut allergy, it is very likely that they will be allergic to the pine nuts in the home made or store bought pesto. For a nut free option, omit pine nuts and add shaved parmesan cheese when running the food processor.
4 very large heirloom tomatoes, chopped
3 small courgettes, (zucchini) chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 heaping Tbs. of pesto (see recipe below)
juice of half a lemon
1 shallot, peeled and diced
salt and pepper to taste
Nut Free Pesto (pistou):
2 cups raw basil leaves, packed
3/4 parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling into the food processor or blender
1 clove of garlic (optional)
In a blender or food processor, add basil leaves and parmesan cheese. Add 4 Tbs of olive oil and begin to blend by pulsing. Add garlic if you like that flavor added to your pesto. Add olive oil, a Tbs at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Pesto freezes well up to 6 months.
In the bottom of a large serving bowl, combine pesto, lemon juice, shallots and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add chopped vegetables and coat with pesto and lemon sauce. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Stir and taste for needed salt before serving.
Makes 6 side dish servings and 3 main course servings.