When I stepped out on my balcony, I saw this little tomato hearts and I said to myself: Caprese! An italian classic, combining all the essential colors and flavors: red, green, white. Tomatoes, basil, mozzarella.
But since I went completely crazy this week by buying something like 10 kilos of homegrown peaches that I’m putting everywhere now, I thought why not combining them with sweet tomatoes. This is how I came up with this Caprese upgrade.
And instead of putting basil leaves only on top, I made a faux vinaigrette: basil leaves, good extra virgin olive oil, some garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. This is also a good way to use basil in case you don’t know what to do with it. Olive oil acts as a natural preservative, so this can be make ahead and stored in a fridge for couple of days. Just don’t forget to take it out on time since a high quality virgin olive oil will harden in fridge.
- basil leaves
For basil vinaigrette:
- bunch of basil leaves
- juice of half lemon
- pinch of salt
- garlic clove
- good amount of virgin olive oil (sth. like 1 dl)
- Mix basil, salt and garlic in a mortar. While mixing add first lemon juice, and than gradually olive oil.
- Cut peaches and tomatoes. Tear mozzarella in big chunks. Assemble.
- Sprinkle with vinaigrette and garnish with some basil leaves.
Gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold. Its origins are apparently disputable, since many mediterranean countries have similar dishes, but let’s just stay by the fact it comes from Spanish cuisine. Traditionally it is made of tomatoes, bread, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, water and salt.
I’m giving it a modern twist: tomato, strawberry, basil and balsamic vinegar. That’s about it.
Gazpacho always has some texture, so don’t blend everything in a soup. Chop very finely all ingredients. Strawberries and tomatoes have high percentage of water, so when chopped they will release a lot of juice. Also, strawberries should be marinated with balsamic vinegar and basil for couple of hours before adding chopped tomatoes. This will allow develop a sort of velvet flavor. Tomatoes will add freshness.
Peeling fresh tomatoes can be really annoying. Here a little trick: cut a cross on the bottom side, than submerge the tomato in boiling water for 10 or 15 seconds. Cool immediately in cold water, than just pull off the skin.
- 250 g strawberries
- 250 g tomatoes
- 3-4 Tbsp of aged balsamic vinegar
- fleur de sel
- bunch of basil leaves
- Chop strawberries, add balsamic vinegar, fleur de sel and finely chopped basil leaves.
- Chill and let marinate for at least 5 hours.
- Cut crosses on the bottom part of tomatoes. Submerge in boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds. Chill in cold water then pull off the skins. Remove the seeds from tomatoes.
- Finely chop tomatoes and add them to the strawberry mixture.
- If needed, finish with some additional salt, balsamic and basil leaves.
* If strawberries are not as sweet as they are supposed to be, add a sweetener to enhance the flavors. Tomatoes always need a hint of some sort of sugar.