Sunday, August 1, 2010

Brandywine Tomato Salad with Basil, Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar

After an all-out battle with the squirrels, bunnies & fruit-eating birds in our gardens this spring-summer season, we finally harvested our first Brandywine tomatoes, which totaled a total of two. But Brandywines are quite substantial - they're huge (up to 1 1/2 lbs. each), at a ratio of one to 2-3 of the regular supermarket variety. Our war strategy now includes surrounding all the veggie beds with chicken wire, topped with bird netting. That should protect the rest of the crop, so there! 

If you've never tasted a Brandywine tomato, please, please try to do so at least once in your lifetime! They're absolutely one of sweetest, most succulent of tomatoes, ever. 

Per Wiki, Brandywine "reached modern popularity after being introduced via the Seed Savers Exchange in 1982 by an elderly Ohio gardener named Ben Quisenberry. He received the variety from a woman named Dorris Sudduth Hill who could trace Brandywine in her family for over 80 years. Brandywine has become one of the most popular home garden cultivars in the United States." Really quite easy to grow from seed or transplant (as long as you protect them from the evil critters!!). 

The following is an impromptu recipe I came up with to trick my hubby Gilbert into eating his veggies. If you don't have Brandywines, substitute with any ripe red tomato you can get a hold of. 

Brandywine & Yellow Pear Tomatoes, fresh from the garden.

2 Brandywine Tomatoes (or 1 1/2-2 lbs. ripe red tomatoes, any variety)
8-10 Yellow Pear Tomatoes (optional)
1 C. fresh Basil, torn 
2 Tbsp. white or red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. (to taste) shredded Parmesan Cheese

1. Cut tomatoes into large 1-2" dice & place in bowl.

2. Finely slice 2 Tbsp. onion, mince 2 cloves garlic, and tear 1 C. fresh basil roughly by hand. Do not cut basil with knife, or leaves will turn brown on the edges. 

The garlic & basil are homegrown. Onion? Not so much...

2. Add whole Yellow Pear tomatoes, torn basil, sliced onion, minced garlic to diced tomatoes. Toss. Drain any excess liquid.

3. Add kosher salt, black pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to tomato mixture. Stir. 

You can use anything from your top-of-the-line olive oil & balsamico to whatever floats your boat. Doesn't have to be super expensive stuff. These Trader Joe's varieties have great taste & are in the right price range. 

4. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese over the salad. Cover & refrigerate 30 minutes before serving. Dish can be served cold or at room temperature. 

No comments:

Post a Comment