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Fresh, ripe tomatoes have arrived in markets and it’s about time!

Do you go au naturel in your approach to enjoyment by slicing them, sprinkling on a little salt, grabbing a fork and going to town? Or what about a tomato sandwich, with fresh tomato slices, salt and maybe pepper with mayo on white bread so soft it sticks to the roof of your mouth?

I know some who have been holding their breath until the new crops arrive in order to process their (oftentimes secret) family tomato pasta sauces.

How do you feel about yellow tomatoes? That’s the one that calls me to attention. I know there probably isn’t a taste difference between it and the red — I just like to think there is.

When we talk about tomatoes, can fresh dill and basil be far behind? Right now our deck garden is a forest of thick, green basil leaves that emit a fragrance that screams “Italian restaurant.”

That reminds me there was once a question on the TV game show, “Family Feud,” that asked what aroma do you first encounter when entering an Italian restaurant?

I thought the answer would be an herb, oregano or basil. It wasn’t. Do you have a guess? I’ll give it to you. It was garlic.

The family recently gave their stamp of approval to today’s tart recipe that has tomatoes, basil pesto and an Italian flair. Even the supposed pesto haters loved it.

Since we have an abundance of basil, I made our own pesto, but the good ‘ol store-bought variety is just fine. And you don’t have to make your own pie crust — just select your favorite refrigerated ready-to bake.

While you have the pesto out, you might consider the basil vinaigrette dressing as a choice for your salads.

Years ago, a basil vinaigrette was a “secret recipe” that a local chef of my acquaintance kept close to his chest. He served it at every chef event where the public was invited. I came to like it and wondered how it was made.

Time passed and thanks to a food section in a popular magazine, I found out. It’s one of those simple recipes that makes you wonder why you ever thought it was complicated. Maybe the chef liked to make it seem that way.

The baking times on the tart may vary depending upon your oven. The time given was what worked in mine.

Mix together a flavorful mayo layer, add some cheese, the prebaked crust and juicy tomatoes and bake until you are swooning over the melty goodness. Then stand back and wait for the compliments.

Reach Judy Grigoraci at

judy.g@suddenlink.net.