Now I’ve mentioned here before how much I love tomotoes, but just in case you’re new to Relishing It, let me emphasize this. It’s not just that I love tomotoes– I’m obsessed with them. Every summer I wait. And wait. And wait until the first ripe tomotoes show up at the farmers’ market. And then I try to fit them into almost every meal. For the record, I don’t buy tomatoes when they’re not in season for a number of reasons. First, obviously, is the taste. Out-of-season tomatoes tend to be stiff and flavorless. Second, I have serious ethical concerns about the industrial tomato industry, which is where many of our “winter” tomatoes come from. Take a look at ‘Tomatoland’, a brilliant book by Barry Estabrook if you’re interested in just how terrible the industry is. Here’s a link to the NY Times review. Now that THAT is out of the way…
I love creating all sorts of dishes with tomatoes. This heirloom tomato tart is among my favorite summer dishes. And this tomato Jam is a versitle spread for both sweet and savory things. If you’ve ever wanted to make your own homemade ketchup–this recipe is a good one to try. I also can salsa every year to share with family and friends, and can a huge supply of plain tomatoes that help get us through the winter.
As much as I love to use them as an ingredient, nothing beats eating them in their natural state. They are so juicy and slightly tender. A sprinkle of salt brings out their amazing robust flavor. I love a good caprese salad. However, I’ve discovered that I’m not a huge fan of eating whole basil leaves. A few here and there are fine, but I much prefer the basil flavor to come through in a delicious vinaigrette that I can let my tomatoes and fresh mozzarella swim in. Every bite gets a little basil burst. It works for me, and I hope it works for you! Enjoy!
The Recipe: Caprese Salad with a Basil Vinaigrette
Heirloom tomatoes, big and small
Extra basil leaves, for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Basil Vinaigrette:
(makes enough for a small platter)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/2 cup packed fresh basil
2 large anchovy fillets in olive oil, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to taste
To make the Basil Vinaigrette: Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a mini food processor. Pulse it a few times to finely chop the basil. Scrape the sides, as needed. Slowly add the olive oil and continue running the machine until the vinaigrette is a relatively smooth consistency. Use immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator for a few days. Let it come to room temperature before using.
Arrange the heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella on a platter, using as many as you would like (double the vinaigrette recipe, if making a larger portion). Pour the dressing over and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Eat immediately. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It! Have a lovely weekend.