All this week we share new ways to enjoy the season’s bounty. Today’s pick: Tomatoes!
Mid-Summer Caprese Salad
4-5 cups mixed greens (spring mix, arugula, kale, etc.)
4-5 large ripe red tomatoes, ends trimmed, each cut into 4 thick slices
About 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 16-20 slices
16 fresh basil leaves
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 T capers
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil or use herbed oil (see recipe below)
1 t. kosher salt
½ t. coarse ground pepper
Place greens on serving platter. Alternate tomato slice, a mozzarella slice, a basil leaf, tomato slice, mozzarella slice, basil leaf, etc. in a concentric circle on the mixed greens. Separate the red onion rings and place over the tomatoes, sprinkle on the capers, drizzle on the olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper. Serves 6-8.
2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 c. mixed fresh herbs on stems (basil, oregano, mint, tarragon, sage, etc.), washed well and dried
Place the oil and herbs in a saucepan; bring to a slight simmer. Cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and allow the herbs to steep in the oil for at least 30 minutes. Strain into a bottle and refrigerate until ready to use. Can keep for 2-3 weeks.
GRANDPA’S TOMATO MINT SAUCE
1 T kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
¼ c. fresh mint leaves
2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into small pieces
¼ t. ground black pepper
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
In a mortar and pestle or with a wooden spoon in a small bowl, combine the salt and garlic. Grind the garlic using the pestle or the back of the wooden spoon until garlic is almost a paste. This takes some “elbow grease”. Add the mint and crush the leaves with pestle until fragrant. Add the cut tomatoes and crush until incorporated into mint and garlic. Add pepper and olive oil, pressing into the mortar and pestle until a sauce is formed. Makes about 1 cup sauce.
Note: Of course you can do this in your food processor, too. Modern day conveniences are wonderful!
BASIL TOMATO/CORN/PEACH HERB RELISH
4 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
1 pound baby heirloom tomatoes, cut in half (or use red or gold cherry or pear shaped tomatoes)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 peaches, pitted, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lime
½ c. finely chopped basil leaves
¼ c. finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 jalapeno pepper, cored and diced
1 t. kosher salt
¼ c. olive oil
Place all ingredients in a bowl; chill until ready to serve. Can use cilantro instead of basil, if desired for a more Mexican flair. Makes about 5 cups relish.