Best of the Season: Heirloom Caprese Salad [UPDATED]Published 4:42pm Sunday, September 8, 2013 Updated 2:33pm Friday, September 20, 2013
Who doesn’t love a fresh garden tomato? Especially when it’s an heirloom variety. They look rather craggy and oddly shaped as compared to the perfect round shape of most of the tomatoes we see (and eat) today but they are perfectly imperfect to me. I’m one of those people that loves fruits and vegetables at their best — and dislikes them intensely when they are not — even if their best is slightly oddly shaped and a bit bruised from perfect ripeness. I have to get my fill at the peak of the season in order to carry me through all those months that I basically boycott out of season produce.
In my book, right now…it’s “tomato time.” And we’ve certainly been eating our fill lately. I was fortunate to hook up with a couple of local farmers this week and get my hands on some really wonderful red, brown, yellow, gold and even white tomatoes in various heirloom varieties. I can’t even begin to tell you the specific varieties of the tomatoes since I was so enthralled by their shapes and colors that, to be honest, I wasn’t really listening. I certainly did those growers a disservice by not paying proper attention, but all I was really interested in was how good they were going to taste.
You can enjoy a perfectly imperfect peak-of-the-season tomato simply sliced and sprinkled, perhaps, with just a bit of salt. You can add a couple of slices to your sandwich or burger and be perfectly content. Or you can make them the star of the show in this gorgeous salad with garden fresh basil, fresh boconcinni, a fruity olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction. Simple and delicious.
Several heirloom tomatoes, in a variety of colors and sizes (and handful of cherry tomatoes added to the mix would be really nice also)
4-5 boconcinni (bite sized balls of fresh mozzarella), per serving
10-20 medium to large size leaves of fresh basil
A very good fruity olive oil
Balsamic vinegar reduction (you can buy this already reduced, or make your own)
Finishing salt (such as Fleur de Sel) and freshly ground black pepper
Slice the tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange them on a platter making sure to mix them up by size and variety. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the boconcinni and the basil leaves around the platter. Drizzle the platter with two or three tablespoons of olive oil. Drizzle the platter with the balsamic reduction.
Take a photo of your beautiful creation — everyone does this now, right?
Serve at room temp.