Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sliced Tomatoes with Mozzarella & Pesto

As soon as locally grown tomatoes were available, my husband brought some home and asked me to make some sliced tomatoes with "mozzarelli" cheese.  (Yep, that's how he says it and I've finally stopped trying to teach him how it should be pronounced, but it still drives me crazy!)

I always like to add fresh basil pesto to the dish and as his craving lasted for a couple of weeks, it was getting difficult to keep up with the pesto because my basil plants had not matured to the point where I could pick it every day or so.  Eventually, he said he had eaten enough and I didn't have to make it any more and the basil emergency was over and the plants got a chance to really grow now that they had been nicely pruned.

Today, he brought in a box of our own tomatoes and again made the request.  I looked outside and saw that with the combination of really hot weather and lots of rain, our basil plants were quite healthy.  I've actually been aware of it and have been worrying that I should make a batch of pesto, even if it were only to freeze.

I harvested this big bunch of basil - there's plenty left on my 2 big, healthy plants.

I make kind of an abbreviated version of pesto with mostly basil, lots of the garlic we grew over the winter, olive oil and a little parmesan and salt.

Then it all goes in the blender or food processor.  I have a mini food processor that works great for small amounts - or for chopping onions and celery for other recipes.

I prefer the larger food processor, but I used it for something out in the shop and it seems to have taken up residence there.

So, today everything went in the blender.  I think I have to add more oil to it to get the blender to work properly than I would if I were using the big old food processor, but it works.

You can see that I got about a cup of pesto from the basil I brought in.  I would say I used maybe 2 tablespoons of the pesto for this dish.

The tomatoes are sliced and a bit of pesto is spread on each one.  It is so strongly flavored that it only takes a bit for each slice.

Then a Mozzarella slice is placed on each slice and either a bit more pesto is added or, in this case, a small basil leaf.

Back when I was scrounging to find enough basil to keep us in pesto, I purchased one of the basil plants that is sold in our grocery store and have it growing on the kitchen windowsill and when I was trying to decide how to finish this platter, I grabbed a few leaves from that plant.  It needs a lot of pruning too!

The finished platter  - ta da:

Pesto does not keep well, so I will freeze what is left over for later use.  I freeze it in ice cube trays and when it is solid, I dump it into a plastic bag so tat I can just grab a cube to defrost for a pesto dish like shrimp and pasta, or to add to a sauce or soup.  It is a great fresh green taste to have available in winter!

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