October 13, 2013

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad

I officially say good bye to summer with this salad- it uses the last of the tomatoes from our little patio garden.  Good bye summer!  If you still have green tomatoes on your plants, don't worry, you can ripen them inside your house if the weather is too cold.  It is very easy, just pick the tomatoes while they are green and place them in a paper bag on your kitchen counter.  In the bag with the tomatoes, place a greenish-yellow banana.  Close the bag, but it doesn't need to be air tight.  I use a bag clip on the paper bag like you would use on a bag of chips.  Depending on how green the tomatoes were to begin with, you may need to use a few bananas, replacing the bananas as they become ripe.  The gas that the ripening banana gives off in the paper bag ripens the tomatoes, even though they are off the vine.  Voila!  Sweet summer tomatoes into October!

Cherokee Purple, Green  Zebra and San Marzano Tomatoes
This salad is made of tomatoes that were ripened on my counter in just this way, three types of tomatoes that I attempted to grow this summer, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, and San Marzano.  While I think they are all beautiful and very worthwhile to grow, I am surprised to find the Green Zebra my favorite of the three.  Although they are not red-ish tomatoes, you can tell when they are ripe when the skin turns slightly yellow with green stripes (when unripe, the skin is green with darker green stripes).  Although green and yellow in color, it still packs a tremendous sweet summer tomato taste, but with a lovely vegetable note.  The other two are lovely as well, the Cherokee Purple has lovely purple-red flesh and portions that stay dark green.  The San Marzano is somewhat drier, sometimes called a paste tomato, but it's flavor is very good.

This is very simple, fresh and delicious, and because the ingredients are high quality, you don't have to do much to them at all for it to be exceptional.  And who wouldn't feel incredibly special being served home grown heirloom tomatoes?

Heirloom Tomato Salad
(Serves 2 as an appetizer, increase proportion as needed)
2-3 each of Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra and San Marzano tomatoes (the size of each was relatively small)
A few handfuls of wild baby arugula
Good quality olive oil (I like Frantoia)
Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Freshly ground Pecorino Romano

Salad before freshly grated cheese is added

Frantoia Olive Oil
Wash the tomatoes and cut them into small pieces or slices, depending on their shape, discarding the stems and any undesirable portions.  Arrange them on the serving plate.  Mound the arugula leaves in the center.  Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt (I like red Hawaiian sea salt, also called Alaea) and some freshly ground white pepper over the salad.  Drizzle some good quality olive oil, I really like the taste of Frantoia olive oil.  Drizzle a much less smaller amount of balsamic in the center of the salad mound.  Remember this rule, you typically want double the amount of oil as you do acid in a salad dressing.  Top with some freshly grated Pecorino Romano.  I find I prefer this to Parmesan frequently, it's very fresh and salty.  Enjoy!

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