I hate tomatoes.
ok, maybe hate is a strong word but, aside from salsa and pasta sauce, if asked whether i'd like tomatoes or not, i generally vote for not.
But its tomato season. and tomato season + CSA share means it doesnt matter if you like tomatoes or not, you're getting them. Two years ago, i learned to accept grape tomatoes in my life. Last year, i learned to like green tomatoes in eggs (and recently had some fried green tomatoes prepared by ms. raspberry eggplant which were outstanding) but the regular old tomatoes and i still were not friends.
However, this year, the tomatoes are different. Our farm is putting out so many heirlooms that one cannot keep up. In the past, i would have maybe broken them down into sauce or given them away but this year, after reading that our farm's heirlooms were named 2nd best by New York magazine, i wanted to try to take advantage. Now, a couple of weeks ago, the tomatoes we were getting were less than perfect and the meat eater and i were mostly opting to take some green ones to use in the aforementioned eggs. however, this week - this week our tomatoes were so gorgeous that even i, the tomato hater, was impressed.
but you know, 4 lbs of tomatoes is kind of a lot... so i took to twitter to ask the masses - what should i do with these beauties?
my friend Shari was the only one to reply:
my first thought was "cant eat so much cheese! wedding diet!"
my next thought was, "hmm... what if i can learn to like tomatoes so that i can up the tomato-to-cheese ratio?"
and then i went to the gym, just in case i couldnt...
but I also did a bit of reading on tomatoes and learned that i could avoid one of my chief issues with tomatoes by simply slicing & salting them to dry out some of the ick... i figured that would help my cause and give me a much better shot.
i dont know if it was that these tomatoes are just THAT good, or if it was the salting or what, but i seriously LOVED last night's dinner. it was so fresh and just yummy that i'd make it again and again.
which is good, because we still have another 2lbs of tomatoes...
Heirloom Tomato Salad
courtesy of me, though i'm sure you can find this over and over again on the internet
6 cloves garlic, still in their casing
6 medium sized heirloom tomatoes
1/2 bunch fresh basil (leaves only) ~ 1 packed cup
8 oz fresh mozzarella
~ 1 tbsp olive oil
~ 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 375°
Place garlic cloves on a piece of aluminum foil (or a baking sheet), drizzle with a teeny bit of olive oil, and roast for ~ 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice tomatoes ~ 1/4 inch thick. Place slices on a doubled piece of paper towel. Salt & pepper the tomatoes (you can be fairly generous with your salt & pepper here) and place another doubled paper towel on top of the tomatoes and press down slightly. Leave aside. (note: i'm very tomato liquid adverse - i actually did this twice with a new set of paper towels and a bit more salt & pepper)
Tear or roughly chop basil leaves & set aside.
Once garlic has cooled, remove from casing and chop up a bit.
Cut mozzarella into small bites. (I used cherry sized balls and cut them in half.) Set aside.
Once tomatoes have dried out a bit, cut into smaller, bite sized pieces (i got six pieces out of an average slice) and place in large bowl.
Add mozzarella and toss.
Add basil & roasted garlic to the bowl and toss.
Add olive oil & balsamic vinegar. Toss again.
Salt & pepper to taste.
Serve with crusty baguette.
Note: you may want to mix the roasted garlic, olive oil and balsamic together before incorporating them into the basil & tomatoes as you might find that this helps the garlic incorporate better. our version had some very garlicy bits and other bits that were not as garlicy. totally up to you which you prefer...