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On the last day of summer we ate the last of our tomatoes — and they didn’t taste as good as they did in July. They were a little crunchy and mealy and not as juicy, but we ate them (slathered in pesto sauce), because we knew our next tomato would be ten months from now. I believe that when delicious fruit is in season, one should gorge on them for as long as the season lasts. Then you are not tempted by the inferior, unripe photocopies of the fruit which are sold for high prices. When the tomato season does come around next year, I am hungry for the true taste of tomatoes and I eat them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (I hold the same philosophy for other fruits, such as peaches and plums.)

No, pesto does not taste as good in winter as it does on a sultry day in summer, but here is my perfect complement to a beautiful tomato:


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil as needed

Toast the pine nuts until golden brown. Put the nuts, garlic, salt, and basil in a mortar and pestle and pound until smooth. Add olive oil as needed.

Why does this recipe call for a mortar and pestle? Because the nutty texture of the hand-pounded pesto is entirely different from the smooth puree that comes out of the food processor. Eat this pesto with a spoon.