Skepcook: Grape Tomatoes and Basil Salad

October 23, 2012

This healthy, delightful little salad was inspired by Italian pesto, which the Skepcook learned to make on a trip to Genoa, the home of pesto. (Thanks to Massimo Polidoro and the other great skeptics of CICAP, the Comitato Italiano per il Controllo elle Affermazioni sul Paranormale, for inviting me.)

My wife Diana and I grow grape tomatoes and basil in our garden. In fact, it was an abundance of these that led me to create this new dish to make use of them.

This is not, however, a recipe for pesto. I have dropped one cheese from the list of pesto ingredients, substituted lemon juice for garlic, and mixed everything with the grape tomatoes without first needing to laboriously make a paste using a mortar and pestle. If this sounds confusing, it isn’t: the dish is simple, quick, and easy to prepare.

In addition to one small bowl for each serving, you will need a measuring cup and teaspoon. You will also need—for each bowl—a dozen or so ripe grape tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of snipped fresh basil, and one teaspoon of pine nuts. Additionally, you will need the following (doubling the amounts for two servings, tripling them for three, and so on): ½ ounce of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of lemon juice, one teaspoon of Parmesan cheese, and a dash of salt (optional).

Combine the respective amounts of tomatoes, basil, and pine nuts, in each bowl. In the measuring cup, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, Parmesan, and salt, stirring well. Then pour the requisite portion of this mixture into each bowl and stir with a spoon until everything is well mixed. Garnish with a sprig of basil and serve. (Alternately the salad may be chilled first.) (See photo.)

Modify ingredients and amounts to suit your own taste and inventiveness. Enjoy!