15 September 2008

...and the Beat Goes on for Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Elly of Elly Says Opa is holding her Eat to the Beat event again. There are so many songs with references to food you could be snapping for fingers and tapping your toes for weeks. I had so much fun participating the last few times that this time I couldn't miss this event either. I chose a song by Guy Clark and sung by John Denver.. Homegrown Tomatoes. It is a little silly but says it all!!

Ain't nothin' in the world that I like better
Than bacon & lettuce & homegrown tomatoes
Up in the mornin' out in the garden
Get you a ripe one don't get a hard one
Plant `em in the spring eat `em in the summer
All winter with out `em's a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin' & diggin'
Everytime I go out & pick me a big one

Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes
What'd life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love & homegrown tomatoes
You can go out to eat & that's for sure
But it's nothin' a homegrown tomato won't cure.......

Listen to it on You Tube here .

Heirloom tomatoes have enough flavor to be a light appetizer on their own. All you need isa few slices with a dusting of sea salt for a haunting treat. One of my earliest childhood memories is eating a plate of just picked tomatoes still warm from the sun from my family's garden. The availability and variety of heirloom tomatoes they have today were not all in my families garden, but, tomatoes of any variety fresh from the garden are next to godliness!!! I do remember their being a twisted and ugly looking red one with a firmer texture. This fruit salad (remember tomatoes are a fruit) showcases what summer is all about... intense flavor, colourful ingredients and playful flavor combinations. As you can see I am holding on to summer as long as possible before the cooler weather arrives.

This resulting recipe is refreshing and complex without being pretentious or difficult to make. Find as many different heirloom tomatoes as you can...the range of flavours and textures will surprise you!! I went to the farmers market in Peachland (yes it really is a place) Sunday morning and found some beautiful green, ruby red, yellow and russet coloured heirlooms and a large bag of garden basil....exactly what I needed for this recipe....then I headed to the beach!!!

**Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette**

1 small red onion, peeled, cut into half moons and thinly sliced
1 pound various heirloom tomatoes (approximately 4 to 6 tomatoes)
kosher salt or course sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup pesto vinaigrette
basil leaves for garnish

Pesto Vinaigrette
(Makes almost 1 cup)

1 clove garlic, peeled
kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
cracked black pepper, to taste

Remove the cores from the tomatoes and cut them in various shapes and sizes (wedges, round slices, half-moons, etc.)...set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor or using a stick blender, purée garlic and salt until a paste is formed. Add pine nuts and basil and process until a fine paste formed once again. With motor running, add vinegar and then slowly add oil in a thin stream until the mixture is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Arrange the tomatoes on a platter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place several slices of onions on top of the tomatoes and drizzle with pesto vinaigrette. Arrange several basil leaves around tomatoes and sprinkle with additional cracked black pepper.

Serves 4
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  1. Such simplicity and yet it looks so fresh and delicious! I envy you going to the beach, here is has been raining for days now!

  2. That looks so delicious! There were some wonderful looking heirloom tomatos at the market on Saturday, but I didn't buy any. Wish I had now!

  3. what a riot! that is a great youtube video/song.

    There really is nothing like the combination of tomatoes and basil. This pesto vinaigrette looks so bright and vibrant!

  4. Yay! The tomatoes are really flowing, aren't they? I love this time of year so much. Great-looking dressing, Valli!

  5. I must say I have never heard a song about tomatoes! This dish is beautiful Val.

  6. Pesto Vinaigrette... That sounds interesting and tasty! Your salad looks very good!



  7. ... and a lot of bread to mop up all the juices... yummy

  8. "a haunting treat..." How well summed up is that? Love the dressing on this salad Val...it has me drooling!

  9. Sounds so wonderful. I must say I have not tried a heirloom tomato, at least I do not think. Sounds like a must try.

  10. As always, Val, you are using some of my favorite, simple (but so delicious!) ingredients. YUM. And you are right, the song says it all. Thanks for participating again!

  11. You know, I like John Denver but I've never heard that song before.. Tomatoes, Basil, Pesto - looks and sounds just wonderful!

  12. Has anyone ever told you that you are the Queen of Salads? I'm sitting here at my desk longing to hit a farmer's market right now.

  13. That looks just my style. Out tomatoes are so wonderful right now. I love your slide photos. I was just getting ready to try that out myself. I think it shows off your stuff nicely!

  14. Mmmm... our toms are beginning to ripen now and this recipe looks like a keeper - thanks for posting it Valli.

  15. the pesto with the heirloom tomatoes look absolutely stunning! simple yet delicious I bet.

    I love your vibrant recipes look forward to reading/seeing more ;-)

  16. I can find many varieties of heirloom tomatoes at my farmer's market now. A simple drizzle of dressing is all they need. Can't wait to try your recipe. Thanks.

  17. Lovely salad and musical tie-in, Val! I'm so sad that tomato season will be over so soon.

  18. There really is nothing better than a homegrown tomato!! This looks delicious!

  19. That salad looks to die for, Val! There is nothing fresher that tomatoes and pesto together! My mouth is watering!

  20. That salad looks to die for, Val! There is nothing fresher that tomatoes and pesto together! My mouth is watering!

  21. Mmmmm Tomatoes, tomatos, tomates! I love them too!
    My father also used to have a garden where he grew his own tomatoes and there's nothing compared to the taste of recently picked tomatoe :D

    A wonderful salad Valli!

  22. an excellent choice of silly verse!

  23. i never knew john denver had it in 'im to perform such a stellar song. :) your salad is beautiful and the vinaigrette sounds amazing!

  24. The pesto vinegarette sounds fantastic. I wish my tomatoes hadn't all died this year!!

  25. I like the addition of the red wine vinegar. I would imagine that it would add a nice zing.

  26. I love the look of that viniagrette! This sounds like a really flavorful salad

  27. What a beautiful plate filled with outragous flavors!!Yummm!

  28. raining tomatoes here...plus getting a final flourish from the basil plants. wonderful recipe at the right time for us!


  29. Oh I know this would be so good. Thanks so much for this one. Lush photo!

  30. Your sharing such a good recipe today. I never made pesto vinaigrette, but I like the idea. Great picture.

  31. This plate look so nice and yummy!!! xxGloria

  32. Interesting recipe! And good to know it works because sometimes I'm afraid of using pesto on a cold dish.

  33. I love heirloom tomatoes, having been a non-tomato eater till I was about 30! I'm now making up for lost time... :o) Love the addition of pesto in this salad.

  34. This looks fresh and delicious Val with a great dressing!

    Rosie x

  35. I love the title of this post. I keep trying to think of songs with food themes! Love the pesto vinaigrette, and heirloom tomatoes are the perfect thing to pair with it. YUM!

  36. I can't say it enough, I love your food! Everything you make looks like something I would LOVE to eat! Including this.

  37. heirloom tomatoes are so good and go so well with many dishes. i just wish they weren't so darn expensive! this salad looks like a great end of summer option to eat every night!

  38. I love pesto. Thanks for the idea on a pesto vinaigrette. I'll have to try it soon. Now if only I had tomatoes plants...


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