YE OLDE CAPRESE SALAD
- Sliced Tomato (amount depends on your appetite!)
- Basil Leaves
- Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Black Pepper
Most of you might already be eating the tomatoes this way, but if not, you ought to try it at least once! Simply alternate the tomatoes, basil and cheese, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with pepper. Let sit a few minutes, if you have the willpower, then enjoy.
HEIRLOOM TOMATOES WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING (from the “Barefoot Contessa” website)
- 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, mixed colors and sizes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ pound blue cheese, divided
- 1 cup ayonnaise
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Core the tomatoes and cut the large ones into thick slices; halve or quarter the small ones. Arrange artfully on a platter and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
For the dressing, place half the Roquefort cheese, the mayonnaise, heavy cream, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in the bowl food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until combined but still chunky.
Drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes. Crumble the remaining blue cheese over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve at room temperature.
- 4-5 small to mid-size tomatoes (ideally skinned, although if you’d prefer to skip this work, that’s fine too)
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 large onion
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup peppers (adjust ratio of sweet to hot depending on your taste)
- 1 tbsp. lime juice (lemon works as well)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Chop tomatoes, cilantro, sweet peppers, and onions. Mince the garlic and hot peppers. Combine and add lime juice, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust according to your preferences (we like to add more garlic usually). Refrigerate for several hours before serving (this isn’t completely necessary, but it does allow the flavors to blend).
EGGPLANT, HEIRLOOM TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA STACKS (from finecooking.com)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices heirloom tomatoes (from 3 to 4 medium)
- 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices eggplant (from 1 medium eggplant)
- 2 balls buffalo mozzarella (5 to 7 oz. each), cut into 8 slices
Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire. In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil, thyme, marjoram, lemon zest, red pepper flakes (if using), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.
Brush the tomato and eggplant slices with 1 Tbs. of the herb oil. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Marinate the mozzarella in the remaining oil.
Grill the eggplant, flipping once, until nicely browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, put a tomato slice on four plates. Top each with a slice of eggplant, then a slice of mozzarella. Repeat, ending with a tomato slice. Drizzle with any remaining oil and serve.
ROASTED BIG HEIRLOOM AND CHERRY TOMATO SOUP
Just read an article that expounds upon the virtues of roasting tomatoes, as it truly does concentrate the juices and release a flavor extravaganza. Here, here, we agree!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 small or medium onions, halved
- 2-1/4 pounds mixed cherry and big tomatoes
- 4 (or more!) cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- ground pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet on low-medium heat. Place onion halves cut-side down in skillet; cook until caramelized, about 4 minutes each side. Set aside 1/4 pound tomatoes (about 3/4 cup) for garnish.. Place remaining tomatoes, the caramelized onion and garlic on 2 rimmed baking sheets; drizzle with remaining olive oil, or more as needed. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven, 30 minutes.
2. Place roasted tomatoes, onions, stock, basil and chicken or veggie stock in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan; simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender (best thing ever) or in batches in a regular blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve in soup bowls, garnished with reserved tomatoes, goat cheese and splashes of balsamic vinegar.
RATATOUILLE (rat-tat-too-ee) (thanks to the Food Network for the proportions and basic directions)
Ratatouille is known as the quintessential poor man’s meal. It’s super simple in its preparation and can vary in its ingredients.
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
- at least 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups medium diced eggplant, with skin on
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 2 cups diced summer squash (patty pan will do just as well as zucchini, though zucchini is typically called for)
- 1 1/2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes
- if you want to remove the skin, simply pour very hot water over the tomatoes and the skin should slip of when you pinch it
- 2 cups diced bell peppers OPTIONAL
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 tbsp parsley
- salt and ground pepper
- Parmesan cheese, grated (amount depends on your taste!)
- cilantro, for garnish on top
Set a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the green and red peppers, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature. If you like, either sprinkle each serving generously with the Parmesan cheese, or put the ratatouille in a a baking dish and sprinkle that generously, and let it broil until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Also, if you fancy, this tastes great with a cilantro garnish.