How we Love our Heirloom Tomatoes


If you ask me, there is nothing better than a traditional caprese salad with colorful Heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lots of basil, especially with a glass of wine on a summer evening. The Sac Foodies have been noticing Heirloom tomato dishes popping up on menus all over town lately. Brittany had a delish Heirloom tomato salad the other day at 33rd Street Bistro, Twin Soup blogged about a caprese salad with Heirlooms from Piatti and even the Hot Italian is touting their new menu items with Heirlooms which we can’t wait to try. At our Sac Foodies potluck a few weeks ago, Kim presented us with a delicious Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad. However, since the Heirlooms weren’t quite at their peak, she used plum tomatoes which are a great substitution when Heirlooms are not available. Here’s the recipe:  – Liz Conant


Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

I love caprese salad and here in Sacramento we have our pick of beautiful Heirloom tomatoes in the summer, especially in August. However, sometimes fresh tomatoes can be hit or miss, and I crave caprese salad all year long. So what’s a girl to do? Well, of course Ina Garten helped me with another cooking dilemma (she is truly my idol!). In her latest book, “Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics,” Ina shows us how to make a scrumptious yet simple Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad that uses plum (or Roma) tomatoes, which are available all year long. I thought this would be perfect to bring to the Sac Foodies potluck since the tomatoes can be roasted the night before and all I had to do was assemble it right before the party.

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed
¼ cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
16 ounces fresh salted mozzarella
12 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with garlic, sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into slices slightly less than ½-inch thick. If the slices of the mozzarella are larger than the tomatoes, cut the mozzarella slices in half. Layer the tomatoes alternately with the mozzarella on a platter and scatter the basil on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe courtesy of “Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics” (Clarkson Potter, 2008)

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