UGLY TOMATOES, A BEAUTIFUL THING

Have you tasted the difference between vine ripened organic tomatoes and the grocery store variety? If you have, then you know that there is no comparison in texture, intensity and flavor. For years I thought that I had tasted the best that tomatoes could offer because I was lucky enough to have friends with gardens nearby. I was wrong again. About 5 years ago I took my first glimpse at the goofy-shaped and colorful heirloom tomatoes and never looked back.

If you can’t find organic heirloom tomatoes at your regular grocery store, your best bet is to find your closest Farmer’s Market. If you live in the US and it is summertime, chances are, someone is growing some heirlooms close by.

Growing up, I never could have imagined loving tomatoes this much or even eating them plain for dessert. Here is a recipe for a Caprese salad that wins people over time and time again. The one shown here is not yet dressed.

 

CLAUDIA’S CAPRESE SALAD

Two large organic heirloom tomatoes. Should feel heavy in your hand.

One container Fresh Mozzarella, Buffalo or regular… I like to use bocconcini… bite sized balls equal less work

Fresh Basil leaves – 10 or as many as you want, chiffonade or torn apart

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Coarse sea Salt and fresh ground Pepper

HOW

Cut tomatoes in bite sized chunks.

If you have larger mozzarella you may tear it with your hands as in the photo above or cut it with a knife into bite sized pieces.

Combine tomatoes, mozzarella and basil in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss and sprinkle with some more salt. This step is essential.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic to your liking. Crack some pepper over the top and give a final toss. Taste. I would go easy on the wet ingredients so you get a little liquid on everything but don’t create a pool on the bottom of the bowl.

MORE

OH NO MY TOMATOES GOT TOO RIPE! Don’t throw them away, they are expensive! Bag the caprese idea. Instead, saute a few cloves of garlic in a little olive oil, add chopped tomatoes, dried Oregano (if it has been in your pantry for over a year, smell it.. if it doesn’t smell like Oregano, throw it away), salt, pepper and toss in some fresh Basil (cook for 10-20 minutes at medium heat) and throw over some pasta. Magnifico!

WHY ORGANIC? I am not an expert, but I hear that tomatoes are amongst the most sprayed crops… as in pesticides… as in Cancer, so pay a few more bucks and avoid Cancer.

GET YOUR TOMATOES AT THE FARMER’S MARKET: Purchasing anything at a Farmer’s market supports the local economy and farmers, which are a dyeing breed in our country. It is the American thing to do. :O) It’s expensive? Skip a frappucino and buy a tomato.

GROW YOUR OWN: Buy some heirloom tomato seeds and grow your own. You will save some dough and become my new best friend. They are a little more vulnerable, but the extra love they require will pay you in kind.

BEAUTIFUL BABIES

By |2018-10-03T16:06:04+00:00September 9th, 2010|

7 Comments

  1. shan September 9, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    I love Heirlooms, they are expensive, but that perfectly ripe, goofy looking first bite makes it all worth while 🙂

  2. Rebeca Krones September 9, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    My favorite is to make a rich tomato sauce with these heirlooms- lots of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper- and simmer it for a couple of hours. Then I’ll freeze it and take it out in the middle of winter and I’m back in summer!

  3. Laurie Hacking September 9, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Love this post, and LOVE heirlooms. I only just discovered them this year…have I been on another planet? They certainly are heavenly!

  4. Christin September 9, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Thanks so much for this recipe Claudia! I love capresi salad!

  5. Carrie Gray September 9, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    I like to also make a sort of bruschetta out of them. All you really have to do is spray (from your olive oil mister) or drizzle with olive oil (my new favorite is Jacuzzi, yes from the winery) a slice of french bread loaf (the big round kind so you get a nice big piece – Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic & Cheese Artisan Loaf that I can’t remember the exact name of is PERFECT) and then put it in the toaster! As it toasts, I slice the tomatoes, spritz with olive oil as well, the sea salt as Claudia suggests, some threads of fresh basil, and then I use the microplane zester on some Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano over the top and slide it all onto the toast when it’s done. The most elegant, any-time snack. Or just slice those puppies up, put them on a plate with all that and have as a side with your dinner! OR dice the over-ripe into fresh spinach in a pan with the olive oil, garlic, some sliced almonds, sea salt and you’re even healthier. Not that I like heirloom tomatoes or anything…. I really need to condense my comments….

  6. kinanda September 10, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    My favorite salad! Time for lunch. Love the Bruschetta idea as well.

  7. Becky September 14, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Looks delish. Could easily make a meal out of that Caprese Salad. Even if “It’s expensive”, in the long run you will pay less for health care if you eat local, organic; and so much more satisfying (quality over quantity).

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