Thursday, 12 June 2014

A Simple Tomato Salad

Nothing gets me feeling more summery and gets my taste buds jumping that this tomato salad with a basil dressing.

I used to have to make buckets of this dressing for my first cheffing job and the smell of freshly chopped basil and a really good extra virgin olive oil always takes me back to then. I love this very simple salad and could eat mountains of it. I regularly team it with fresh mozzarella (which looks fantastic on the plate -the white & the red combination) or pan fried courgettes for a simple lunch.

However you chose to serve it - it's divine and very easy to make.

First of all make your dressing.

You will need loads of basil leaves - a good 2 hands full.
Half a pint of olive oil - the best extra virgin you can run to.
A good pinch sea salt crystals
Freshly ground pepper.

Take your basil leaves and chiffonade them - no this is not some strange old English dance or musical term - this is a chef term for finely slicing leaves. All you do is roll the leaves and, using a sharp knife, slice down crosswise to create small ribbons of basil.

Whilst you're at it contemplate whether one is 'chiffonading the basil' or creating a 'basil chiffonade' is it a verb or not..........

Your basil leaves should look like this......

Spread the basil out on a dished plate or large pasta bowl and pour the olive oil over; sprinkle on the salt and grind over the pepper. Cover with cling film and leave to macerate - another word to contemplate!

I like to place my dressing on a warm windowsill so the sun can get to it and warm the basil to bring out the flavour.

Now for the tomatoes.

These also need to be at least at room temperature. If you have a warm sunny windowsill place them on it - next to your dressing and let them warm up for an hour or so. This will make them extra tomatoey and sweeten their flavour.

You can use a combination of any tomato - except for those large tasteless watery one from the supermarket - yuck!

Take your tomato and slice - if using cherry tomatoes just cut in half but anything larger needs to be slice.

 Arrange the tomatoes on a pretty serving dish

and pour over your basil dressing. Again cover with cling film and set aside for the flavours to mingle.

 (my mouth is watering writing this up -I'm going to have to make this for lunch again today!)

Serve either as a stand alone lunch with maybe some toasted soda bread or pile it on toasted french stick for a plateful of bruschetta.

You can also serve with goats cheese, grilled tuna or swordfish steaks, on jacket potatoes.........the list is endless......just make this salad and let your taste buds and imagination take you!

The left over dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days or you can strain out the basil & it will keep for ages. It's also great poured over cubed feta which will keep in the fridge for a few days as well.


Just a little self promotion

Some of you may have already noticed the new addition to my blog. It's a 'blog within a blog' and is all about kids stuff. I visit lots of different sites and follow loads of bloggers, from around the world, who publish great kid related ideas and I'd like to share them with you.

My new 'blog' is called Kids Stuff and I'm aiming to show case some of the great ideas I come across and also cover my own kid friendly recipes - from baby food to meals you can all cook together. Please have a look and let me know what you think or any ideas you would like me to cover.

 Kids Stuff

Thanks Lizx