Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tomato Salad Red, White and Blue!

Now I have talked before about tomatoes and if you have been to dinner at my house or have been to a roof party in the summer you know I am a huge fan of the tomato salad. Not the tomato mozzarella NYC Italian kind of tomato salad mind you, not that there is anything wrong this that. However, I like a more complex tomato salad that actually has a salad dressing and one that has a tangy cheese and one that has some crunch.

Now looking at all the tomato options available to us at the modern farmers market or grocery store can make your head spin. I absolutely love the rise and prevalence of the Heirloom tomato! Heirlooms are nothing more than the strains of seeds which have somehow missed out on the genetic engineering spree in the farming industry in the 50's 60's and 70's and moving forward to today. They are in essence the original tomatoes enjoyed by Americans in a simpler time. They deliver great flavor and color and texture, and in the summer I cannot help but serve them up in a fabulous salad or find a way to enjoy them almost daily. In short they like mashed potatoes would go down on the list as one of my favorite foods.

So tomato salads are about as all American as apple pie. In the summers they grace many a picnic or summer dinner table. And they could not be easier to make. My favorite version can be dressed up or dressed down but no matter how it's presented it's clean simple and tasty. This recipe is for 4 people and is presented on a platter but you could use any type of presentation you'd like. I have made this into an elegant starter for a summer meal as well as served it up all mixed together tossed in a big bowl.

Since it's winter this recipe recommends using Campari tomatoes which are a varietal famous and popular in California cuisine and popular during the Winter months because they are grown in Mexico in abundance during the Winter season. They are  a hybrid type originally from Europe and have exceptional color and are larger than a cherry tomato but smaller than a normal salad or steak type. They are visually a perfect "little" tomato and have great taste and texture as well as flavor. Billed as the "tomato lover's tomato" they are sure to please! Now like I said any tomato will do, but since we eat with our eyes first, Campari Tomatoes give visual impact to the dish. The rest of the ingredients are simple and clean and just yummy. So if you want to try a new salad which is easy breezy cover girl, give this a whirl! Enjoy Ya'll!!

Winter Campari Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts

1 package Campari Tomatoes sliced in half ( allow for three tomatoes per person)
3 oz blue cheese ( I like Maytag it's pricey but REALLY good)
3/4 cup whole walnut halves
10 fresh good looking picked basil leaves
5 fresh basil leaves cut into chiffonade
1/2 cup herb Vinaigrette ( I use dried oregano)

On platter arrange tomatoes
Nestle basil leaves amongst the Tomaotes
Scatter Blue cheese in small chunks over the tomatoes
Scatter walnut halves around the tomatoes
Sprinkle the basil chiffonade around the salad
Spoon on the dressing

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