Don loves arugula. He will eat a bag of arugula as a snack.
I love tomatoes.
In fact, my mother has told me that “tomato” was my first word. I pronounced it as “apimanus” and would do anything for a tomato. I still will. I just think that the juiciness, sweetness and unique character of a tomato makes a salad complete.
And, nowadays, tomatoes are available in all shapes and colors. There are yellow pear tomatoes and brown kumato tomatoes. There are beefsteak and grape tomatoes, cherry and low-acid tomatoes.
And, most are available year-round in your local markets. Best of all, tomatoes are very simple to check for kashrut (kosher status) as their structure rarely allows for insect infestation.
Recently, a group of our friends joined to prepare an exquisite and delicious Sheva Brochos (seven day wedding after-party) for our newly married children, Yitzchok Aaron and Hindy. There was gorgeous china and stemware. The tablecloths were elegant and beautiful. Every delicious home-cooked dish was impeccably prepared and served.
But, for me, the stand-out memory of the evening was the tomato salad. It was a beefsteak tomato salad served in stout chunks with the most incredible pesto drizzled on top. It was gorgeous, fresh and simply delicious.
Last night, my aunt and uncle came to visit my parents who are living with us. They were coming from quite a distance and were due to arrive around dinnertime. I had been busy all day with my mother and we arrived home later than expected. Before I left that morning, I had prepared a crockpot lentil soup and set a simple brisket and Simple Rainbow Roasted Vegetables in my oven on time-bake.
What I had left for the end was the salad. I knew that I had some pre-checked lettuce and other assorted vegetables in my refrigerator bin. Thirty minutes before their arrival, I opened the bin to begin preparing the salad. All my salad ingredients, including the checked lettuce were gone. All that remained were tomatoes, onions and arugula.
And, oh, there were tomatoes! I had containers of every type of tomato imaginable. There were yellow pear tomatoes and brown kumato tomatoes. There were grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, but no beefsteak tomatoes. Last week, all the local markets had interesting tomatoes at great prices, so I had stocked up. And, my salad thieves had barely touched the tomatoes.
So, what was there to do? My mind raced back to the Sheva Brochos tomato fantasy. I had never received the recipe, but in my mind, I knew exactly what to do. And, the results were even better than the original and approved by all my guests.
Arugula, washed and pat dry
1/2 onion, cut in chunks
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash and cut tomatoes. If using large tomatoes, cut into thick slices. Arrange in a bowl or on a serving platter.
In the food processor fitted with the s-blade, pulse onion chunks and well-dried arugula. Once the onion and arugula are completely broken down, add lemon, salt and oil and process until well combined.
Right before serving, pour pesto over the tomatoes. Enjoy!
Kosher laws disallow the eating of any whole insects and therefore most greens require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing. Kashrut authorities differ somewhat on the proper checking of leafy vegetables. This blog was not designed to be your kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using greens such as arugula.
For an interesting appetizer, side dish or buffet option, decant tomatoes into a glass. Top with arugula pesto and garnish with a small bread stick or crouton.
Please Note: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, which means I earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase.