Do you know how many grown adult men in this country don't eat raw tomatoes?
They will eat all of the pizza, endless bolognese, put raw eggs in their smoothies, drink the broth of another animal's bones, spit their phlegm across three lanes of traffic and still push the tomatoes from their salad off to the side.
I don't entirely blame them though, you know why?
They're being served something entirely unlike what a tomato should taste like.
A tomato should taste like the sun, exploding in your mouth. Warm and soft and delicate and bursting with bright flavor.
The tomatoes we see in our grocery stores are often much closer to their plastic play kitchen friends than they are like the real deal juice-dripping-down-your-chin sweet-as-candy still have a bit of dirt on them tomatoes we should be eating.
If there's a man in your life that you've been trying to get to eat tomatoes for years, now is the time. Mid August-early September is when they are prime and ripe and perfect. Run-don't walk to the farmers market because in a blink they'll be gone. Heirlooms are best, give them a gentle squeeze and if it gives a little you're in business. If The Man needs further coaxing than just a slab of tomato with salt and pepper, wrap the tomato in flaky pie crust over a bed of pesto and you will change a life.
***I made this pesto with sunflower seeds because they're so much cheaper than pine nuts and less flavorful so the basil can be the real star of the show. Also, it's nice to think that if you're eating the seeds of your favorite flower you are that much closer to becoming just like a sunflower.
Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (vegan)
1 c basil leaves, washed and stemmed
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 large or 3 medium heirloom tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
Prepare the pie crust (this can be done up to three days in advance and left to chill wrapped in saran wrap in the fridge).
In a medium saucepan, toast the sunflower seeds over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until they get toasty and smell nutty, shaking them around occasionally.
In a blender, combine the basil, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt and peppers. Blend until combined, adding more olive oil if it's too thick to blend but not too much because you want this to be a pasty olive oil- just to the point that you can spread it.
Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the crust so it's about 18" in diameter and 1/4" thick. Transfer the rolled out dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the pesto out on the dough, leaving a 3" border around it.
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-1/2" slices, cover the pesto-ed part of the crust with tomatoes. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomato, pressing to seal any cracks along the bottom seam.
Drizzle the whole tart with the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 35-45 minutes, until the edges turn golden and the tomatoes are roasted and wrinkly.
Cool and serve at room temperature.