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Avocado, tomato and basil salad

This is so quick, easy and makes a delicious summers day lunch. I was very lucky enough to get hold of some broad bean leaves at the market in Skibbereen at the weekend, which have a superb flavour but are very hard to come by. This would work just as well with rocket, or a baby leaf mix.

Make sure your tomatoes are good and ripe. If you store them in the fridge, get them out onto a warm window sill to ripen a day or two before you want to eat them.

As we have also made a fantastic basil pesto, I strained off some of the oil (sorry Liam) to use as a dressing.

Avocados are, I find, one of these things that are in danger of sitting in the fruit bowl rock solid for a few days after I have bought them. Then, all of a sudden they’re a squidgy brown mess. It seems they only have a window of eating opportunity of an hour, at some mystical appointed time!

Some ways of ripening your avocados is to store them in a brown paper bag, or with some bananas. Both will enocourage the rising of the fruit. Check them twice a day. You can pop them in the fridge if they are getting close to ripeness. Or just eat them.




Two hand fulls of ripe tomatoes. If you have different types, ie cherry, beef piccolo etc, mix them up.

A handful of leaves such as rocket, baby spinach, or baby mixed leaves.

Basil oil, strained from homemade pesto.

A spring onion, finely sliced

1/2 an avocado, sliced lengthwise in the skin, then peel out of the skin.

Freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of good quality salt

1 tsp pinenuts



Chop the tomatoes any way you like. Add them to a bowl with the spring onion and the leaves.


Dress with a couple of tablespoons of the pesto oil and mix well, but lightly with your hand or spoon.


Half the avocado by carefully cutting into the fruit with the blade edge of a sharp knife until you hit the stone. Run the blade of the knife all the way around the stone, cutting the avocado in half lengthwise.


To remove the stone, hold the avocado half, stone side up, in a teatowel to protect your hand. Firmly hit the knife edge into the stone. Twist the knife (and stone) and the stone will fall out.


Cut one of the halves in half lengthwise again. Slice down the avocado at 5 mm intervals, without cutting through the skin.


Peel the skin, starting from the top of the fruit, freeing the segments. Lay the avocado on top of the tomato salad.


In a hot, dry frying pan quickly toast the pinenuts so they are golden brown. Scatter over the salad.


Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and a good pinch of salt.

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