Heirloom tomatoes with pine-nut gremolata

Last month, when Aron and I snuck away to Calistoga, we had the most delicious take on the classic Caprese salad at SolBar: heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil, Burrata cheese, and something they were calling Pine-nut Gremolata.

Traditionally, a gremolata is a chopped herb condiment—a bit like a pesto. This one’s ingredients weren’t immediately clear to us—they didn’t involve herbs—but it was so good it made you want to lick the plate. We immediately tried to replicate it with our favorite sous-chef at home.

We had a day-old baguette on hand and it worked perfectly. We toasted it a bit for flavor, even though it was already plenty crunchy. If you’re starting with fresh bread, you’ll want to toast or bake it on low-heat, slowly, until it’s crunchy and a bit dried-out; like a crouton.

Next, we toasted the pine nuts (roughly 1/8-cup to a 1/4 baguette). You can do this on the stove-top or in a toaster-oven, but just be sure and watch them closely: they burn fast!

Grind the toasted ingredients in a food-processor while adding olive oil. Be generous… maybe two tablespoons for the 1/4-baguette. Next I added a healthy dash of salt and pepper (not an exact science), and a dash of brown sugar. You’ll know you have it right when you want to eat it straight from the tasting spoon rather than share it on anyone else’s plate.

And plating this salad is really the fun part. Lay down some gremolata, and arrange some quartered tomatoes. (Ours are having their last gasp of the season, so we’re doing our best to enjoy them. The brown Kumatos you can find at most Trader Joe’s make a good stand-in for heirlooms.) Add some fresh, full-fat mozzarella or (even better) burrata cheese and some basil. Finish with a pinch more salt and olive oil (and perhaps a touch more gremolata). It will taste great and look beautiful.

P.S. Our weekend in Calistoga (and the salad-inspiration), how to compose a Blood-Orange Salad, and (in case you’re not in the mood to be good) frosting for one.

Related posts:

Travel Guides

Browse By Category