Sliced Tomatoes

Oh sure, you can put some sliced tomatoes on a plate, layered in a pretty circle with mozzarella cheese, sprinkled with a "chiffonade" of fresh basil, and then drizzle with olive oil.  That's good stuff.  Caprese, the Italians call it.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box.  Or in my case today, think inside the garden.  My freshly planted basil is tiny and I could not dream of cutting any precious leaves off for this salad.  My oregano?  Hedge.  It is a literal hedge.  Comes back every year.  I cut off hunks for friends and neighbors.  It's as full and lush as late summer in Greece just now.

There's also a bunch of garlic chives growing.  Lots of other stuff, too.

I can only imagine how good this will be in August, when the tomatoes themselves come right out of my garden.  Red and juicy and perfect.  Early June in Minnesota makes one settle for store bought, vine-on not-very-red tomatoes.  They're getting better, no doubt, but not the same as "Homegrown Tomatoes" as John Denver used to sing.

One way to bring out some juicy sweetness in off-season tomatoes is to drizzle a little balsamic or red wine vinegar at the last minute.  You can slice the tomatoes, add the chopped herbs and salt, pepper and olive oil.  Wait til the last minute to add the vinegar, though.  You don't want a pool of tomato juice on your platter.  The picture below is BEFORE the vinegar splash :)

I'm giddy for dinner tonight.  Grilled chicken legs, pasta with pesto (the last from last summer's garden), sliced tomatoes, spinach salad with blue cheese dressing, and watermelon for dessert.

Have a great Saturday night!

(recipe:  sliced tomatoes, chopped oregano, chopped garlic chives, drizzle of olive oil, sprinkling of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, splash of red wine vinegar at the end)