Welcome to the boot - the love song within a foreign film that is my life. easy and healthy recipes for the budding home cook, stories about me and my Italian (soon-to-be-husband) Manu, and snippets of life in Italy.
Today I can't wait to introduce you all to a new foodie friend - Carrie from Plums in the Icebox, a food blog with a literary slant. How cool is that? She and I have a shared appreciation for so many things we've discovered, and this one in particular: Italian grandmothers who love tomato salad.
Hi readers of the boot! I'm so excited to beguestposting for Marissa; I'm such a fan of Marissa's recipes, and who doesn't like reading about her happy life in Italy?! I chose to share a recipe from my Italian grandmother with you---it seemed appropriate! Here's my grandmother Josephine (in Italian, Guiseppina, although she preferred to be called Jo) in 1935, when she was 19 years old:
She was born in Baltimore, the youngest child of recent Italian immigrants from Petrona, Calabria. My grandmother and I had a special and close relationship all my life, right up until she died in 2007. We both loved reading, dressing up and eating this tomato salad. When I visited her house when I was a little girl, she never failed to make this for me, as she knew it was my all-time favorite food. My grandmother was a famous cook (is there any Italian grandmother who isn't, really?) and this was one of her favorite recipes; she ate tomato salad for lunch almost every day.
This salad is incredibly simple, yet there's almost no other food that I'd rather eat. For sure, this would be part of my last meal, if I were ever in a situation to warrant a last meal. Tomato salad is the definition of summer: fresh juicy tomatoes, bright green basil, golden olive oil, tart vinegar. It's perfect the way it is, but I like to add cilegine mozzarella balls, or eat it on top of crusty, crunchy bread. My grandmother's tomato salad is great on top of a bed of greens, too.
Tomato Salad serves 1-2 as a side total time: 5-10 minutes total hands on time: 5-10 minutes What you'll need: 2-3 tomatoes, diced (works well with tomatoes of all sizes except cherry or grape) 1-2 tbsps good quality olive oil about a tsp of balsamic vinegar 5 or 6 small leaves of fresh basil, chiffonaded and then chopped sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and garlic powder to your taste
What you'll do:
1. Dice the tomatoes and put them into a bowl, being sure to get all the good tomato juice in there, too.
2. Chiffonade and chop the basil.
3. Pour the olive oil over the tomatoes--enough to make the tomatoes oily, but not so they're swimming in it.
4. Pour some balsamic vinegar over that--not too much, but to your liking. I use about 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil.
5. Stir, then taste to see if the oil-vinegar ratio is correct; if not, add more of either one. I always need to add more oil!
5. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and basil, stir again. Don't be light on the salt or the pepper: sea salt and good quality black pepper work best, I find.
6. Let sit for a few minutes so the flavors can combine.
I ate my tomato salad for lunch with some English muffins spread with pesto. Simple, flavorful, and perfect.