The tomatoes are coming…the tomatoes are coming! Finally, after what seemed like an intolerably long wait, tomatoes, specifically heirloom tomatoes are beginning to ripen in our gardens, and trickle into the markets. Since returning to California from Massachusetts (which is always a bit behind), I have been eating them every single day. My mouth is blistered from their acidity, but it’s not enough to stop me. I love them sliced and salted with eggs in the morning, in BLTs at lunch and in this gorgeous salad with dinner.
Brandywine, Black Krim, Sungold, Mortgage Lifter, Big Beef, Zebra Stripe…you can’t go wrong with these beauties. I make my salad a la Jamie Oliver, with the fresh mozzarella cheese off to the side and sprinkled all over with Maldon Salt and spicy red chiles. The outrageous colors of these tomatoes, not to mention their outstanding flavor is accentuated by cutting them in a variety of ways, some sliced and some in wedges. They are simply topped with a quick balsamic vinaigrette and a sprinkling of fresh herbs and micro-greens. Luckily, this show-stopper of a salad comes together in minutes…and it will disappear in minutes too, once you set it out on the table.
Do you grow heirloom tomatoes in your garden? What varieties are your favorites? Do tell…
This recipe, adapted from Jamie Oliver, is a riff on the basic Italian caprese. If the caprese is buttoned up and structured, this salad is her gorgeous, easy-going (and sexy) cousin that everyone wants to talk to at a party.
- 2 pounds of mixed fresh heirloom tomatoes
- Maldon salt (or other sea salt) and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 clove of garlic, grated
- 1 fresh red chile (such as a red jalapeno or fresno), seeded and minced
- handful of fresh basil
- handful of micro-greens
- 1 package of fresh mozzarella balls in water, drained (I prefer bocconcini)
- Slice some tomatoes in wedges, some in slabs and scatter them decoratively over 2/3 of a platter. Place the mozzarella balls in the rest of the platter. Sprinkle the tomatoes and cheese with salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl whisk the vinegar, olive oil, oregano and garlic. Drizzle evenly over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes and the cheese with the fresh chile, basil and micro-greens. Serve immediately.