Basil + tomatoes = the best summer combination.
Even though summer is winding down, you can still celebrate these two delicious summer foods for just a while longer. For the next few weeks, the basil will still be abundant and delicious and the tomatoes will be juicy and flavourful. By the end of September, these will all be gone until next summer. Thank goodness we are able to preserve these flavours well into the winter by making some pantry staples like tomato sauce, oven-fried tomatoes, and basil pesto.
On this last long weekend of summer, I really want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the basil and tomatoes I have on hand (and maybe a drink or two :P). And what better way to do this by making my Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes!
I picked up some fresh, local basil and cherry tomatoes (along with some other goodies) at the Burnaby Farmers Market today specifically for this recipe. I love the rainbow cherry tomatoes for this recipe because they are super sweet and they look so beautiful, almost like little jewels, when plated. If you can’t find any rainbow cherry tomatoes, regular red ones work beautifully as well.
The most time consuming part of this recipe is removing the seeds and membrane of the tomatoes. Essentially, you are trying to make a “cup” so that you can fill it with basil pesto. I recommend using a very sharp paring knife to slice off the bottom of the tomato and to scoop out the inside of the tomato.
The basil pesto is much easier to make. Just toss some almonds (my budget-friendly substitute for pine nuts) into a food processor along with lots of Parmesan cheese, basil leaves, lemon juice and garlic. Then just turn process until smooth. Easy peasy! I find the best way to fill the tomatoes with the pesto is to pipe it into the tomato cups. Just scoop the pesto into a plastic Ziploc bag and cut the tip of one corner off. Squeezing the pesto from the bag into the tomatoes is much easier than trying to spoon it in.
Once the tomatoes are all filled with pesto, arrange them nicely on a platter. Whenever I make these, the first 3 or 4 don’t make it onto the platter, they’re that good! You can serve these cold or at room temperature- they are delicious either way!
For this delicious summer appetizer recipe, click here!