I do not know which cuisine or who came up with the idea of pairing tomatoes with basil, but, as you know, it is an unbeatable combination – raw or cooked. Whether the combination is on pizza, pasta, rice or on thick slices of toasted bread it’s hard to deny the sweet, salty, herby juice that saturates your tongue and makes you crave more of it.
The “recipe” couldn’t be easier. However, given that there are few ingredients, and that this is a raw salad, I would strongly suggest that you get the best quality ingredients in terms of freshness.
For the tomatoes, you want to get some nice firm ripe tomatoes free of blemishes and soft spots. Ideally, use local tomatoes and not imported ones that might have been refrigerated at some point in time from harvest to travel.
For the basil oil, use sweet basil or the lemon basil that is well known in Guyana as “married-man-pork”; the one that gives the signature flavour to our Black Pudding.
Do not fuss with quantities here, even if you have some of the basil oil remaining, refrigerate it to use on another occasion.
Here’s how to put the salad together.
Using a mortar and pestle (preferably) or a blender, bruise, grind and blend the basil leaves with salt (I used coarse sea salt). At the end of this process you should have a paste. Taste the mixture to ensure that there is enough salt to taste. Add a neutral flavoured oil (or a high quality oil) and blend it into the mixture; you want it to have the consistency of vinaigrette. Set aside while you attend to the tomatoes.
Wash and pat dry the tomatoes, cut into wedges discarding the stem piece at the top. Decoratively arrange the tomatoes on a plate or platter or simply pile them on to the plate. Generously spoon the basil oil all over the tomatoes and serve immediately.
- You can make this combo, blend, pass through sieve and refrigerate to serve chilled over ice for a refreshing drink or to make bloody marys.
- If serving chilled over ice, consider adding a piece of hot pepper when blending.