Okay, fine. Yes, I did also refer to my caprese salad with peaches as “summer on a plate.” I suppose it’s safe to say that almost everything I make these days is summer on a plate. Which means that seasonal delights like heirloom tomatoes and similar fare play a prominent role in my diet. Like Christmas for foodies (or something), summer tomatoes come but once a year—and I take full advantage.
Doesn’t mean you need to get all hot and bothered in the kitchen, though. (Unless you’re into that kind of thing, in which case I have plenty of splendid suggestions on my recipe page, including fresh tomato sauce.)
But if you’re like most people and prefer to keep things simple come August, this recipe is for you. Perfect for lunch, dinner, or a even a simple snack or hors d’oeuvre, the quintessential summer sandwich doesn’t get easier than slicing up a crusty baguette; spreading it with garlicky pesto (classic genovese or, for a change, parsley-pistachio); slabbing on tangy fresh mozzarella; and topping it with a thick slice of juicy tomato. Season with freshly cracked pepper and a bit of sea salt and tuck in a few leaves of basil here and there just for fun, perhaps an additional drizzle of olive oil. Pretty on the plate and a delight on the palate.
Sure, you can use a high-quality, store-bought pesto if you like. But why? if you’ve never made pesto from scratch before, now is the time. Fresh herbs abound at the local markets, sweet smelling and inexpensively priced. There’s a cooking video here to show you how, or a text version here; it takes all of five minutes. Go for it! As we like to say in New England, it’s wicked easy.
More importantly, it’s wicked delicious.
Since I’ve been blogging for the past three years, this may well be my shortest blog post ever. No reason to spend time reading about food, after all, or even writing about it. It’s summer! Get out there, enjoy it while it lasts, and savor the sweetness of the season by getting into the kitchen to bring summer onto your plate.
Looking for a title more tomato love? My other favorite sandwich features creamy garlic aioli and arugula. Or ditch the bread altogether and toss all the different colors of heirloom tomatoes you can find onto a plate for a pesto-laden caprese. More pesto-inspired ideas are here.
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Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book comes out on September 9, 2014.
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