This is a really delicious and fresh salad, perfect to serve during your dinner party in summer. Use the best ingredients you can get.
My favorite olive oil is ‘Flor de Aceite’ from Benaoliva in Benagalbon, a small town in the Axarquia, here in Andalucia, Spain. Flor de Aceite is what foodies call “the prime steak” of olive oil. The olives are not crushed but are allowed to drip from the mashed paste using some fine 19th century technology, right into its own filtration system. The resulting slightly cloudy liquid – they don’t filter it clear as this would mean losing some of the flavour – is some of the best and finest-flavoured olive oil money can buy. It is delicious over salads, grilled vegetables or just a plain piece of bread.
Make the vinaigrette:
Whisk pesto, olive oil, basil and red wine vinegar in a bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.
Put the rocket in a large bowl and add some of the Pesto vinaigrette. Toss really well until all leaves are covered with some of the vinaigrette.
Divide the salad over 12 plates, in the middle.
Cut the tomatoes in 2 or if they are large enough in 4. Shake them in the same bowl where you tossed the salad in and may add some extra pesto vinaigrette.
Divide the tomatoes over the 12 plates, around the heap of rocket.
Divide the mozzarella over the 12 plates, by pulling pieces of the mozzarella ball and place them onto the heap of rocket.
Do the same with the Burgos cheese or use a teaspoon if you like.
Shave the Pecorino cheese with a peeler over the top of the salad.
Add toasted pine kernels and if you use it the fresh basil.
Poor some of the vinaigrette oil over and around the salad.
Add a long and narrow salty puff pastry stick and make it look pretty!
(rectangular puff pastry, cut it in long narrow 'sticks', put them on baking sheet, whisk one egg and paste it on the puff pastry sticks, add course salt, bake them in the oven.
Photo credit: Frank Montanaro
You can find a delicious home made pesto recipe here.