Summer on a plate. Bursting with colour, juicy and sweet, crunchy and creamy.
1 cup basil leaves Flaky sea salt 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp pine nuts Slick of oil for frying 100g (3½ oz) soft and creamy goat’s cheese (or use a mild creamy-style feta) 600g (1 lb 3 oz) assorted tomatoes Freshly ground black pepper to taste Baby basil leaves to garnish Lemon wedges for serving
1 Take a little more than half of the basil leaves and crush with a pestle and mortar, adding a pinch of sea salt. Stir in olive oil. Leave the mixture to steep for 15 minutes, then transfer it to a small strainer or sieve set over a bowl and press to extract the oil.
2 Toast the pine nuts in a small lightly oiled pan set over a gentle heat. As soon as they are lightly golden, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.
3 Slice goat’s cheese. You might find it easier to use a lightly oiled knife, or a very hot knife (run knife under a hot tap before making every slice; alternatively, just go with the flow and if the cheese crumbles, so be it).
4 Slice tomatoes or cut into halves, quarters or wedges. Scatter remaining basil leaves over a serving plate (keep baby leaves for the top). Pile on the tomatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt and grind over black pepper. Add goat’s cheese and scatter with pine nuts. Blend basil oil together then spoon over salad. Garnish with baby basil leaves and serve with lemon wedges.
You can assemble the ingredients (basil oil, pine nuts, goat’s cheese) 15-20 minutes before assembling the salad, but it is better to prepare the tomatoes just before assembling the salad. Once assembled, serve it pronto!
It makes a lovely light casual meal with a bowl; of olives on the side and a loaf of crunchy bread.