• 25 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3

I grew up on tomato and mozzarella salad, but this particular version is now my favorite. Adding a little beef turns this salad into a perfect high-protein low-carb business lunch. Grilling the tomatoes and toasting the cheese adds a richness to this dish that’s hard to beat, and making a rich pesto to drizzle on puts this dish over the top in terms of intense flavor.” – Jon Bonnell, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine

068 Tenderloin Tower with Pesto copy



  • 4 oz beef tenderloin, cut into thin medallions
  • Creole seasonings, to taste

Tomato & Mozzarella

  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 balls fresh mozzarella
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • aged balsamic vinegar

Cilantro Pesto

  • 1 bunch fresh basil (leaves only)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (leaves only)
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 achovy fillet
  • 1 clove garlic (small)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 5 oz extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Cilantro Pesto

  1. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a nonstick pan over medium heat until just lightly browned on all sides.
  2. Place all ingredients into a blender except for the olive oil. While blending, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until a thick sauce consistency is achieved. Adjust the thickness of the pesto by adding or subtracting different amounts of oil if desired.


  1. Lightly dust both sides of the medallions with Creole seasonings and sear quickly in a hot nonstick pan. Once both sides are seared, the middle should be medium rare.
  2. Remove and arrange with the tomatoes and mozzarella in a stack.

Tomato & Mozzarella Assembly

  1. Cut the tomatoes into thick slices, season with salt and pepper, then brush with a light coating of olive oil. Grill quickly to get nice charred marks, then remove and arrange on a plate.
  2. Cut the mozzarella into thick slices and place one slice on each tomato. Use a blowtorch to toast the top of the cheese until lightly golden brown, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place one spoonful of pesto on top of the cheese, then drizzle the plate with a few drops of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Garnish with basil leaves or cilantro leaves.

Notes from the Chef: Use the best extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar that you can afford for this dish. The flavors will really make a difference.

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Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine

4259 Bryant Irvin Rd
Fort Worth , TX 76109  |  Map

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