I may have mentioned in my writings that I adore tomatoes! The bounty of summer at it’s best!
It’s the dead of winter now and that often brings getting together with food friends. Recently at a get-together lunch recently where I saw on the menu Tomato Bocconcini salad. I could almost feel my blood pressure rising. Am I the only person out here who is driven crazy by the inclusion of a beautiful, summer item on menus all year round?
It seems to be a complete misunderstanding with chefs when it comes to “Tomato Fresh Mozarella/Bocconcini Salad”. Think summer people, think in season, red, ripe, luscious, juicy tomatoes with fresh mozzarella! Well that is what we should be getting. BUT oh no….when summer is over we get out of season, tasteless, pink tomatoes; an insult to what should be a lovely SUMMER salad! It’s wrong…it’s just plain wrong!
Here’s what should happen. Think end of July to end of August, early September. Now envision the aforementioned in-season tomatoes, sliced and interspersed with the fresh mozzarella on a plate, sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then drizzled with the best Italian EVOO you can get your hands on and finally some fresh basil scattered about. YES…this is how to properly enjoy the salad. Not in December with those horrible out-of-season things.
I am at a loss as to why in the world any self-respecting chef does not recognize that if they want to have it on their menu, it should be there SEASONALLY! If it ain’t in season, it’s ain’t on the menu!
You might be able to get away with roasting some hot-house tomatoes which will intensify their flavour and use those for your salad in off-season, but that’s about it. Of course, the fresh basil will not be as flavorful, but will be OK!
Another thing…I have a Tuscan cookbook that suggests using tomatoes that are still a bit green near the stem/shoulder for this salad. Hmmm, I might have to give that a go next summer. It might just work, the tomato will have just enough acidity to offset the bland milkyness of the fresh mozzarella.
It feels really great to finally get if off my chest!