Wednesday, July 8, 2009
It’s a difficult thing to admit, even to myself, but sometimes I do not want to cook. A recent virus kicked off my latest spurt of time out of the kitchen which was extended a few weeks by a trip up north and the guilt that ensued for not adding anything to Apples and Butter for weeks upon weeks. I have been here, quietly perusing your sites and finding so much inspiration, just not adding much to the conversation myself. This past weekend, the push I needed came in the form of a little red globe of perfect, first-tomato-of-the-season ripeness I found hiding at the back of one of my potted cherry tomatoes.
The day I pull the first tomato of summer off the vine may as well be a holy day in my household. At the very least it’s the equivalent of a national holiday. The anticipation begins in March when I put the first seedlings in the ground and wonder why they don’t produce tomatoes the very next day. It’s a cruel, three-month waiting period until the flowers turn to green tomatoes and the green tomatoes ripen into voluptuous red globes that seem as though they will burst at the seems if left on the vine for one more minute.
The cherry tomatoes I pulled off the vine needed a very basic preparation to let the homegrown tomato flavor shine through. I grabbed a fresh package of burrata out of the fridge and opened my new bottle of Valderrama olive oil (more about that another time) that was waiting patiently on the counter for the perfect first use. This was definitely it.
With burrata and homegrown tomatoes as the star ingredients, the dish only needed a sprinkling of fresh herbs to finish it. Basil would be ideal, but since my bushes had not quite jumped into production, I settled for finely chopped parsley - a decent substitute in this situation.
For a presentation worthy of photographing (though I would have gladly thrown everything together in a bowl and dug in with a fork) I shaped the burrata into quenelles, a football shape which is formed by moving the cheese back and forth between two spoons, smoothing the edges as you go. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, this, more detailed, explanation may be helpful.
Wherever you are, I hope it’s warm enough that you too are enjoying the first homegrown tomatoes of summer.
Cherry Tomato and Burrata Salad
Serves 1 (this recipe can easily be doubled, though if you’re pulling your first tomatoes off the vine, you, like me, may not want to share)
Handful (10 +) of cherry tomatoes
4 quenelles (or spoonfuls) of Burrata (about a 1/2 cup)
1 T best quality olive oil
1 T chopped fresh herbs of your liking
Sprinkling of Maldon sea salt
Place the burrata quenelles on four opposite sides of a plate (think north, south, east, west). Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and arrange them among the burrata. Drizzle with olive oil and finish with a sprinkling of herbs and salt to taste. Try not to inhale everything in one bite.