Fresh Tomato Pesto: How to Make, Put Up, and Use It
I hate to waste food, and I'm pretty sure that you hate to waste food, too.
As I get to know the people who grow my food, I also hate to waste their time and the literal fruits of their labors. When I decided to start a blog, I did so because I'd had success figuring out ways to take the farm share produce (that came into my house between May and November) and feed it to my family during the off season as well.
I know you like to eat tasty food (you're reading a food blog, so this is a guess, I'm not stalking you or anything) but it's just common sense not to enjoy composting or throwing away something you paid for that could have benefited you, your family, or hungry folks in your community had it been consumed in time.
So I need to share today a lesson in putting up a food which you may think couldn't ever be wasted: a garden fresh tomato.
|As soon as you have fresh (yours or someone's garden, CSA farm share, or farmer's market--not grocery store) tomatoes, please make this. You'll thank me! I've been thanking Heather! Not Simon, who photobombed the shot.|
I know you're thinking "What, is she crazy? I look forward to tomatoes from my garden all winter long! I start them too early in the Spring because I can. not. wait. to eat fresh tomatoes!"
Sure, sure. You're saying this in May. In June. But what are you saying in September? October?
The fresh picked tomato has less of an appeal then. That's the time I am canning tomatoes, slow roasting tomatoes, doing anything but simply enjoying the fresh flavor of a tomato allowed to ripen naturally and picked at its peak of flavor.
Why am I nattering on about this? To put you in my mindset last fall when Heather posted her Cherry Tomato Pesto recipe. I had all the ingredients so I thought I'd give it a whirl (pun totally intended), but I was not expecting my reaction to my first taste of it.
It's broke da mouth good.
I was licking the bowl of the food processor when my spouse walked into the kitchen. I sheepishly gave him a taste, and then he understood why. Not content to make the recipe once (and in the interests of science and/or this blog), I made it multiple times, shown here. I've used your basic red tomato, yellow taxi tomatoes, indigo rose tomatoes. I've used cashews and almonds, and Leanne suggests it's great with macadamia nuts for a more dairy feel--without dairy. I've used fresh basil, fresh parsley, and, when the fresh stuff ran out, I've made it with put up Arugula Pesto and Basil pesto right from the freezer. I froze a bunch of tomato pesto in November, and thawed the final bag in April (shown above, after I learned to take a slightly better photo of it, even though the dog photobombed me). I'll go so far as to say that you could make this pesto with any kind of tomato, nearly any kind of nut you have available, and nearly any kind of flavorful leafy green or herb you have available and it will taste great.
For other recipes using yellow or red (or orange, or purple--the variety of tomatoes in the farm share continues to astound me), please see my Tomato Recipes Collection. [I have a separate one for recipes made with Green Tomatoes]. These collections are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.
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Fresh Tomato Pesto Sauce
(very slightly adapted from Heather's Cherry Tomato Pesto)
- 4 medium or 2 large tomatoes (tops to the composting pigs!)
- 1/2 cup packed basil, parsley, or arugula leaves
- 1/3 cup salted cashews, almonds, or macadamia nuts
- 1 clove garlic (or use some roasted garlic, if you like)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Throw everything in the food processor. Pulse a few times to chunk it up, then puree on high several seconds until smooth.
- Scrape down sides and puree a couple moments more to get that last pesky piece of cashew incorporated.
- Store in the fridge a few days, or in the freezer at least up to 6 months.
- This makes enough for 2 pizzas plus an appetizer for a hungry spouse who walks into the kitchen while you're licking the bowl because it tastes so amazing. We enjoyed this on pita chips, tortilla chips, carrot slices, baguettes, and pasta.
I've used it on a few pizzas, too:
Not-So-Simple Cheese Pizza
Five Cheese Pizza with Indigo Rose Tomato and Almond Pesto on a Butternut Squash Crust
Broccoli Rabe, Mushroom, and Roasted Garlic with Fresh Mozzarella and Fresh Tomato Pesto
Beef, Mushroom, and Fresh Tomato Pesto FFF-boli
Buttermilk Crust Pizza with Pepperoni and Fresh Tomato Sauce
This post is bopping around to What's Cookin' Wednesday, waving "hi!" to Heather, who first shared this recipe, at What's In The Box, the From The Farm Blog Hop the Clever Chicks Blog Hop , Tasty Tuesdays, and the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up, Real Food Fridays.