red and juicy. no, not strawberries. tomatoes! when i was a kid, i used to dislike fresh tomatoes as their pips had this jello juice around … but nowadays i find a fresh and ripe tomatoe quite irresitible!
when it is hot in summer, one does not crave hot food but rather something full of flavour and light. i am partial to the italian classic of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, but i like it with a twist:
grilled tomatoes with basil and buffalo mozzarella
now as this is the finished product, one can hardly see the tomatoes underneath, hence here is a photo before the topping:
the jist is to cut up the tomatoes, drizzle them with some pepper, fleur de sel and a good quality olive oil and put them under the grill (in an ovenproof dish) and grill them on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes. they don’t need to brown much (as they might go bitter when too black on top) but then should dry slightly and get a much richer taste that way.
once out of the oven (i added some pine nuts for the last couple of minutes under the grill to have them slightly toasted too), let it cool slightly so the tomatoes are warm rather than piping hot before adding the hand torn buffalo mozzarella (you really need the buffalo variety here as it is more tangy than the usual mozzarella), hand torn basil leaves and a couple of fresh tomatoe dices. add some chili flakes (for looks!!!) and drizzle some more good quality olive oil on top (if you are adventurous use truffle oil for an extra kick) and serve immediately. it is a great starter or a light main course. and it is yummy!
a word on the olive oil: while usually i prefer greek olive oil (as it is usually less sharp in taste, with a more mellow flavour), for this dish i find a nice and strong italian olive oil works wonders and lifts it on cloud 9 for tastebuds. i used this variety (obviously extra vergine and cold pressed), even though i normally go organic: