I have this love/hate relationship with raw tomatoes. They look and smell so yummy and delicious, with those little seeds encapsulated in bits of gel that seems like it would just burst awesomeness all over your tastebuds. The idea of a BLT is tantalizing, and sometimes I can just imagine the freshness of a ripe juicy tomato and a helping of fresh corn together. Mmmmm.
Alas, my body does not agree with me and even the teeniest bits of raw tomato will send me yakking and hurling all over the plate. Please don’t try to sneak it on there. My body knows. My body will reject it automatically. It’s not psychosomatic. It’s a real problem. (My body might be smarter than I am! Tomatoes are a nightshade plant and nightshades are awful for my fibromyalgia!)
At any rate, I love making tomato dishes for the lucky folks in my life that get to eat these juicy bits of (imagined) deliciousness. A summer favorite around my house is Ensalata Caprese. Now, there are a hundred variations on this old theme, but basically it’s just tomatoes, basil, moz cheese, and some balsamic and olive oil. Here, I’ll show you.
- One package mozzarella pearls
- One bunch of fresh basil
- One pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
- Some balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Some salt and pepper to taste
Pull those little pearls apart. Try to refrain from popping them in your mouth as you go! There’s a lot of those little suckers in there, the packaging will fool you.
Slice those lovely little red tomatoes into halves. Don’t be fussy about this. “Approximately in half” is sufficient.
Grab that bunch of basil and just bury your face in the leaves and inhale that herby goodness. Is that just heaven or what? Roll them in a tight little bundle and sliver away. The fancy word for that is “chiffonade”.
Lightly toss all your ingredients in a bowl with a sprinkle of sea salt, a twist or two of fresh cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. I like to add a little balsamic vinegar for some kick. Try a fruity balsamic for a light flavor. Serve on a beautiful plate, pour yourself some wine and enjoy! Simple, fresh and elegant.