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Grilled tomato caprese

Making your own ricotta is a breeze and absolutely delicious. The same goes for pesto – try this and you won’t buy ready-made again. This salad is perfect for a spring/summer lunch, served with grilled breads and chilled rosé.

 Valerie Aikman-Smith   Spring 2021 Join us on        @thebbqmag

 #bbq365 #BBQMag #ValerieAikmanSmith #TomatoCaprese




Serves 6-8




Grilled tomato caprese

  • 900 g cherry tomatoes (about 6 branches)
  • Basil leaves, for garnishing
  • Oil, for brushing the grate 

For the Ricotta

  • 1.9 litres whole milk
  • 250ml double cream
  • 80ml organic white distilled vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice 

For the Pesto

  • 100g fresh basil leaves
  • 35g freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 55g chopped almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 




  • To make the ricotta, pour the milk and cream into a large pan and place over a medium heat. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan and heat to 88°C.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar or lemon juice. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture very slowly a few times, then cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 1 hour.
  • Line a sieve with muslin and place over a bowl large enough to catch the whey. Gently pour the ricotta curds into the cheesecloth and let drain for 45 minutes. Place the ricotta in a glass storage container and season with salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate.

  • To make the pesto, place the basil, cheese, almonds, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to combine, then pour into a glass storage container.

  • Heat the barbecue to medium–high. Brush the grate with oil.
  • Place the tomatoes on the grill and cook for about 4 minutes until they are bursting open and charred.
  • To serve, spoon the ricotta onto a platter and top with the grilled tomatoes, then drizzle with the pesto and garnish with the basil.
  • Store the remaining pesto in the fridge for another use. It will keep for up to a week.


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