Heritage Tomatoes – photo by Jamie Schler
I have had some pretty amazing tomatoes recently. Some ripened on the vine and others brought to ideal ripeness on the kitchen window shelf where they get only the gentle early morning sunlight.
Some 50 years ago, I was given Elizabeth David’s A Book of Mediterranean Foods in which she sang the praises of all manner of produce that was just coming back into British shops after the rationing of World War 2. Tomatoes and fine olive oil amongst them. She, almost alone, changed the British view on Food. Robert Carrier, John Tovey, Margaret Costa were later part of that movement.
Recently I visited Spek en Bone, Bertus and Marelie Basson’s stunning little restaurant off Dorp Street in Stellenbosch. They had a dish of Heritage Tomatoes dressed with a sweet basil mousse, Prince Albert Cheese, croutons – as my main course, I was beyond happy.
I found some wonderful vine ripened tomatoes and replicated the dish, without the mousse. The tomatoes were ideally ripe, wonderfully integrated sweet fruit and acidity, and the most fabulous aromas.
One of the main factors in a sublime salad like this is not only the tomatoes, but the quality of the olive oil you use. It makes you feel like you are on holiday in the south of France or in Italy. I also believe that the salt you use should be coarse sea salt, and I prefer Maldon Salt. A good couple of grinds of pepper, and a good slug of Willow Creek Olive Oil, a splash of Willow Creek Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar and a sprig of Marjoram. You will want for nothing more.
My vine ripened Heritage Tomato Salad
What you do…
I took about 12 of the ideal vine-ripened tomatoes and cut them into quarters. Place in the bow in which you will serve the salad. Season well with sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper, the Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar. Here you can decide whether you would like chili or garlic flavours, or indeed both. Drizzle the Willow Creek Infused Olive Oil of your choice, just a seasoning. Then be generous with the Willow Creek Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Allow to chill well and marinate for a couple of hours. Use the back of a spoon and crush the herbs to allow the aromas into the marinade.
Quite honestly all you need to serve with this salad is a crunchy baguette.
Willow Creek Privé Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Willow Creek have recently releases a flagship oil called Privé. A premium oil, showing its terroir in the ancient soils on which the trees grow. The nose is rich and full, the flavour mouth filling, blended by a Master Blender from Picual Olives, of Spanish Origin and Mission, of Californian Origin.
Read more about Willow Creek Olive Estate – CLICK HERE