During the summer, one of the vegetables that Wynonna Judd looks forward to having the most is tomatoes. Not the hothouse kind. We're talking red, ripe, fleshy, full-of-flavor tomatoes. Romas, beefsteak, plum, grape, Grainger Country, heirloom—the more variety the better.
Last night, Wy enjoyed a simple, yet elegant salad of perfectly ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, sliced and layered with small slices of fresh milk mozzarella, then drizzled with a touch of oil and basil. The basil, grown in our own garden, compliments the acid in the tomato for a meticulous balance.
Servings: Makes 4 servings
- 4 ripe Roma tomatoes (must use ripe tomatoes or salad will not be what it should be!)
- 4 balls fresh mozzarella , "boccacino" size if available
- 8 leaves fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
In a small saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Using the tip of a paring knife, place a small "x" in the bottom (opposite the stem side) of the tomato. Have a bowl of ice water ready to submerge the tomatoes into. Drop the tomatoes into boiling water. If the tomatoes are large they should boil for a maximum of 30 seconds; if they're small they should boil for a maximum of 15 seconds. Remove and drop tomatoes into ice water. Peel them (peel will now slide off easily) and place on a sheet of paper towel. Slice off ends and cut into 3 even slices. Thickness will depend on the size of the tomato. Cut mozzarella the same way. Lay out the tomato slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chop basil by rolling all of the leaves into one (in the shape of a cigar). Then, slice very finely to create julienne shreds. Mix olive oil, adding a pinch of kosher salt and a bunch of fresh ground pepper grinds. Assemble by alternating tomato and mozzarella slices into a stack, using 3 pieces each per stack. Drizzle basil oil over each stack, dividing between stacks. Serve 3 stacks per person.