Friday, January 25, 2008

My favourite ever tomato salad

Tomatoes are so great. But only the good tomatoes: not those hard cold pale ones at the supermarket (and that according to the font of all knowledge, I mean Today Tonight, might have been picked and in storage for up to a YEAR) that taste like nothing. We have recently started growing our own little tomatoes, and nothing beats the beautiful old-timey scent of a fresh tomato stalk. It's enough to make you pack it all in and become a full-time grower.

Anyway, my favourite ever tomato salad is thus. It must be made with primo tomatoes, nothing less. Farmer's markets quality, home-grown, gourmet organic, whatever. The tomatoes must be burstingly ripe, red as red, with that tomato-smell all over them. The basil must also be primo, freshly torn, not chopped. Without great ingredients, I would never make this salad. There's nothing here to hide a shoddy ingredient with.

Combine chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, a little crushed garlic, olive oil and smashed rock salt in a bowl, in the quantities you prefer. Leave for fifteen minutes to infuse and build flavour.

Can be spread on bread, like bruschetta; mixed with fresh hot penne and left to cool for a fabulous pasta dish, or used as a base for something else. I sometimes have a tomato salad bed on a plate and then top it with some grilled chicken.

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