NEIL'S RECIPES: SALAD OF HERITAGE TOMATOES, CROWDIE, PESTO AND CROUTONS

by Cafe St Honoré in


"As a keen gardener I think home-grown tomatoes are the best in the world. I tasted one yesterday that was like a peach - fruity and sweet. Married with a cheese of any kind, tomatoes taste great, and here I’ve used a sweet, creamy, almost crumbly crowdie. Perfect alongside the pesto. So easy to do, and a real show stopper."

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4
10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking

INGREDIENTS

4 to 6 tablespoons crowdie

Around 6 or 7 different varieties of tomatoes, or home-grown

A small handful of fresh basil

A few lightly-toasted pine nuts, or hazelnuts

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or a good British hard cheese, even a good cheddar is fine

2 cloves garlic, peeled

250ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the croutons

A few thyme leavesGood salt and pepperSome stale bread, ideally a loaf from the previous day

A few salad leaves and slices of radish

METHOD

Heat the oven to 165°C.

Begin by making the croutons. Slice the stale bread into wafer-thin shards, and trickle with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, a few thyme leaves and bake on an oven tray for around 20 minutes until just crisp. Allow to cool. 

Next, make the pesto by placing the nuts, cheese, oil and garlic in a liquidiser and blitzing for a few seconds. Add the basil leaves and continue to whizz for a few more seconds. I sometimes use a pestle and mortar to make pesto.

Remove the eyes from the tomatoes and cut them into slices and arrange on plates. Add some dollops of crowdie and trickle over some pesto. You will have some left over for another day. Arrange the shards of croutons and scatter a few salad leaves and slices of radish as a garnish. Finish with a pinch of good salt and pepper.