Starting with Tomatoes…Summer’s Finest Fruit
When it comes time to sit down and eat, it doesn’t matter to me how people dress or speak. We all are the same if we share one simple quality: respect for the meal, the moment and each other- such people are always welcome at my table.
My precious husband has always said that simplicity is the key to a good meal. Although Julia Child is my idol (her 100th birthday would have been this August 15th), her recipes can seem daunting. There is nothing on earth as special as Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon made from scratch but it takes hours if not days to prepare. I have done it and it was worth the effort! I often refer to my collection of cookbooks for an idea and more than not, ‘The Barefoot Contessa’. Ina Garten’s meals are simple and easy, yet elegant. AND they work! I always make a recipe my own by switching up ingredients but because recipes do not have copy rights, you could actually write the same recipe verbatim as your own. So my recipes are almost always renamed; for example, Ali’s Grilled Green Tomatoes is actually a similar Southern Living recipe called Grilled Green Tomatoes Caprese. I recently served this dish to friends who came to dinner and it got rave reviews.
Tomatoes as we know them are a fruit and probably the most widely grown plant in home vegetable gardens. Well worth it as not only are they insanely easy to grow, even from seed, but are nature’s sweet gift to us. Green or ripe red there are a million ways to prepare them. Gardeners who love them can’t wait to put the plants in the warmed ground and have been known to cry when the first frost arrives (well, that would be me). There are always green tomatoes on the vine so make my recipe and call it your own!
ALI’S GRILLED GREEN TOMATOES
- Green tomatoes from the garden
- Balsamic vinaigrette (Balsamic vinegar is actually the must of red or white pressed, cooked grapes- don’t ya know?!)
- Mozzarella cheese (A good friend asked if this called for fresh cheese- as opposed to?)
- Basil from the garden
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Slice the tomatoes at least ¼ inch thick and marinate in the vinaigrette for one hour (¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, a small dollop of Dijon mustard, if desired and salt/pepper).
Fire up the grill and cook tomatoes about one minute per side to create grill marks.* Arrange tomatoes beautifully on a platter overlapping with thinly sliced mozzarella and basil leaves (whole or chopped) and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Easy and simple- serve this with grilled pork and there’s your meal!
*Note: green tomatoes do not have the same liquid content of ripe red tomatoes so they take the heat of the grill well without falling apart…