Monday, August 20, 2012

T is for: Tomato Salad with Heirlooms, Basil, Capers & Mozzarella

Originally, I had no intentions of posting another "T" recipe. After all, "U week" technically started on Sunday. But I was so inspired by these gorgeous tomatoes I just had to share it with everyone. What can I say? Heirloom tomatoes make me want to break the rules. Can you blame me?

I'll be honest. I don't know much about Heirloom tomatoes beyond the fact that I think they look cool and they taste good. (And they are expensive...I paid $3.99 per pound for these at Whole Foods). I decided I needed to be more educated about them in order to properly share them with you.

A google search produced lengthy explanations about open pollination and seeds. I'm no gardener (although I'd like to be someday), so this mostly flew over my head. Fortunately, I found a pretty layman explanation on The Life in Green blog, which described them this way:

"Simply put an heirloom is a variety of plant (tomato, melon, lettuce etc.) that has been saved and passed from one generation to the next. There may be other criteria that lends one to being an heirloom, such as how many generations a variety has been saved, but leave that to the heirloom aficionados. Let’s keep it simple here, k?"

Thanks Lisa, I couldn't agree more.

Speaking of simplicity, I realize this is basically just a caprese salad that doesn't really require a recipe, but maybe it will inspire you to make one. I mean....look at that gorgeous rainbow of tomatoes!! I cut mine into 8 wedges each, sprinkled them with some salt and let them sit in a colander for about 20 minutes. This probably isn't necessary, but I like to draw out a little of the water first so my salad isn't as "soupy."

I like to mix up the shapes and sizes of everything to make the salad more interesting and visually appealing, so I threw in some assorted cherry tomatoes as well. I cut most of them in half so they could soak up the salt and olive oil, but you can leave them whole if you want.

From there, I tossed the tomatoes with a generous helping of extra virgin olive oil, a few splashes of Balsamic vinegar, capers, basil (both chiffonade and some small whole leaves), more salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes and then add some boccocini (fresh mozzarella balls which I also halved), and serve! So easy, so simple, yet so, so delicious.

I made it as part of a little BBQ we had at my complex yesterday with a couple of my neighbors, which was a blast! (I hash-tagged it #neighborque on Instagram). Aside from the salad, I made some prosciutto-wrapped melon, some baked beans (not pictured) and my Strawberry Cheesecake Jello Shots. Dennis supplied some Korean BBQ, and Russ brought some hot dogs from Marina Meats, along with some goat sliders. No, seriously. He said he told the guy at Marina Meats he wanted something "weird" so he ended up with goat. I must say, it was actually pretty good. A little "gamey" but I liked them. So much so that I ended up eating 3 of them throughout the day. Of course, lovely San Francisco in was freezing, so we were bundled up and enjoyed the fire pit along with some great food and new friends!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil, Capers & Mozzarella

by Jaymee Sire
Keywords: salad appetizer gluten-free low-carb tomato mozzarella basil summer

  • 3-4 pounds ripe, Heirloom tomatoes (assorted colors)
  • 1 pint assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers packed in salt, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup basil chiffonade
  • additional whole basil leaves
  • 1 container boccocini (fresh mozzarella), halved
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Basalmic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Cut Heirloom tomatoes into 8 wedges each. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit in a colander for 20 minutes.
  2. Toss tomatoes with cherry tomatoes, capers and a healthy dose of olive oil and more salt. Add a few splashes of Balsamic vinegar, to taste. Allow to marinate for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Toss with basil and mozzarella and serve!
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  1. I enjoy making heirloom tomato salads in the summer, but what I think makes a HUGE difference is using quality olive oil. BTW, if you like heirloom tomatoes, you should check out the Kendall Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival. Heirloom tomatoes + food + wine = good times :)

    1. I completely agree Steph! And when is that??!? Sounds amazing.

  2. Hey Monts! I'm inspired! :) Going to make this SOON!


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