TO ROUND out my short series on summer salads with seasonal fruit, I nominate this satisfyingly tasty little number that makes the most of late-August tomatoes in all their glorious, full-bodied ripeness.
It comes from 101 Cookbooks, another of my favorite websites for innovative yet homey recipes (many that reinvent the way I think about using oft-used produce) that you immediately want to tuck into with a great big fork or spoon.
The original recipe calls for heirloom tomatoes, but I made do with an abundant selection of non-heirlooms and I don’t think I missed out too much in the flavor department. The roasted tomatoes are luscious.
Tomato Salad with mozzarella, capers and almonds
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish (or 2 to 3 as a main depending on appetite). You can roast the tomatoes in advance and preserve them in a jar covered in oil. Drain before continuing with the recipe.
2 lbs/1 kg tomatoes (a mix of multicolored small and cherry tomatoes)
1/4 cup/60 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup (I used maple syrup)
a couple of pinches of fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup toasted almond slices
2 tbsp capers, fried in a bit of oil
6 oz /170 grams good quality mozzarella (I used a firm buffalo mozzarella), sliced into thick slivers
1-2 cups of torn lettuce leaves (I shredded some romaine)
a generous drizzle of lemon oil (I used 1 tbsp of O&Co lemon oil)
Chive or herb flowers or minced chives to serve
Roast about half the tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175°C), and place the oven rack in the top third of the oven.
Toss the tomatoes you’ll be roasting gently but completely in a bowl along with the olive oil, maple syrup and salt. Arrange them in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking tray. Bake, without stirring, until the tomatoes shrink a bit and start to caramelize around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes.
Set them aside to cool.
When ready to serve, gently toss the roasted and raw tomatoes with the lemon oil, most of the almonds, the capers, mozzarella and lettuce. Taste and season the mix with a bit more salt if desired.
Serve the salad with the remaining almonds and herb flowers or chives scattered on top.
We enjoyed this with some crusty nut bread, parma ham, and a lovely rosé wine.