At the start of the summer I went completely mental ordering different vegetable seeds. I mean one in every colour. It was much like clothes shopping and therefor extremely enjoyable. Dad however was less impressed upon delivery. Left to his own devices he would grow things like turnips and potatoes, and not a lot else. He did however oblige to growing most of the varieties I ordered and we are now in the middle of a hude tomato crop. A multicolour crop that is. The mixed colours make fora great looking salad and a tasty one.
Notes: coloured tomatoes are widely available now but if you can only get hold of red ones simply mix the sizes up a bit. A cherry tomato will be far sweeter than a standard vine tomato so will be enough to add contrast. The pesto is also a good staple and far cheaper than making one with pine nuts (an ingredient that is soaring in price so much I can never justify buying them).This will make more than enough so keep excess in the fridge and enjoy on pasta.
TOMATO AND CHILLI SALAD with ALMOND PESTO and ricotta
450g mixed tomatoes, sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or more if you can take the heat)
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
For the pesto:
100g whole almonds, toasted
three big handfuls of mixed greens, I used spinach, basil and rocket
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt + 1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp sesame seeds
zest of 1 lemon
plenty of good olive oil
ricotta, to serve
Mix all the dressing ingredient together, adding a few tomatoes to alls some of their juices to be drawn out but the salt. Layer the tomatoes flat on a big serving dish. Drizzle the dressing on top and allow to sit for five minutes.
Meanwhile make the pesto. Toast the nuts until fragrant. Allow to cool then in a food processor coarsely blitz with the greens, seasoning, garlic, lemon zest and seeds. Once roughly chopped add to a pestle and mortar and start adding enough olive oil to loosen it. Crush the pesto all the time to incorporate the oil. Once you reach the desired consistency dollop onto of the salad and add some ricotta if using. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge until required.