I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Post-Caprese Tomatoes

Our family doesn't typically get sick of tomatoes. We wait impatiently for tomato season, then gorge ourselves on heirlooms, cherries, roasted San Marzanos... In those heady early weeks we savor our tomatoes thickly sliced and topped simply with salt and pepper, or on a bagel with a light smear of good cream cheese. Then comes the basil, oil and vinegar treatment, augmented occasionally with some fresh mozzarella or sweet corn. Really, we can do this 2-3 times each week and never get tired of the tender sweetness of a perfectly ripe tomoto.

But this year I bought a flat of heirlooms that did us in. I couldn't look at another basil leaf, I thought I was done. Fortunately we were rescued by the redoubtable Mark Bittman, who offered up this Asian take on tomato salad.

Sesame-Soy Tomato Salad

Slice 4-5 heirloom tomatoes 1/4-1/2" thick and arrange on a platter. Combine 1.5 tablespoons toasted sesame oil with 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and drizzle over tomatoes. Finely slice 2 scallions, sprinkle over tomatoes and serve.

Spicy Green Apple Salad

This recipe is a brilliant intersection between North American summer and fall, from the shesimmers.com blog -- a gorgeous blog with wonderful recipes, very much worth checking out. We made this salad with San Marzano tomatoes from our farm box and apples from our Rosh Hashanah foray to Petaluma's welcoming Chileno Ranch.

She recommends this salad as a topping for grilled or pan-fried fish. We added shredded leftover rotisserie chicken and a chopped heart of romaine and enjoyed it as an entree salad, topped with the recommended chopped cashews. Delicious! Makes about 2 cups without the added chicken and lettuce.

1 medium Granny Smith, Gravenstein or other very firm, tart apple
1 medium shallot
3-4 roma tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch dice
lime juice, to taste
fish sauce, to taste
dried red pepper powder or chili flakes, to taste
2-3 T of chopped cilantro leaves
¼ c coarsely chopped roasted cashews (optional)

Put 2-3 cups iced water in a bowl; keep the bowl handy. Core the apple and cut it in half. Slice each half lengthwise into thin slices. Make stacks of 4-5 apple slices and cut them lengthwise again into thin matchsticks. Soak the apple matchsticks in the prepared iced water.

Thinly slice the shallot lengthwise. In a mixing bowl, toss together the shallot slices, tomatoes, the well-drained apple matchsticks, and cilantro. Season to taste with fish sauce, lime juice, and dried red pepper powder. Serve immediately.

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