Thursday, August 26, 2004


Heirloom Tomato, Celery and Basil Salad

Americans love tomatoes. Americans buy tomatoes. Most of the recipes I post include tomatoes!

In the final glory days of summer, wet, wild, luscious tomatoes -- tomatoes as they used to be -- are splashing a rainbow of colors across farmers' markets and grocery stores.

If you can, smell tomatoes when you buy them. They should be faintly aromatic. If they smell of nothing they will probably taste of nothing.

The stalk leaves should be fresh and green and the fruit should be firm with a bright, unflawed skin.

Never store tomatoes in the fridge as this impairs natural ripening and flavor, instead store them at room temperature. Over-ripe tomatoes will deteriorate even more quickly if chilled.

Take them out of plastic packaging as soon as you get them home and leave them to "breathe" in a bowl.

Heirloom Tomato, Celery and Basil Salad

4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced crosswise
1/2 sweet onion sliced crosswise (Vadalia or Maui would be best)
4 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced crosswise, leaves torn
Small handful fresh basil, torn
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, celery, celery leaves and basil; set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and cream; to combine.

Season with salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to coat; serve immediately.

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