Before we talk about this recipe, let's take a quick look at how the world of delicious, nearly-infanite tomato varieties became the few, relatively flavorless—albeit perfectly red and aesthetically flawless— varieties you find in stores today. In an effort to to eradicate plant diseases, optimize fruit "beauty," and create a farming model that could be scaled, fruits and vegetables have undergone years of selective breeding. Those cultivars with blemishes, those that were susceptible to diseases, and those which did not produce consistent crops were thrown by the wayside.
As such, it's been a sad few decades for tomatoes. But thanks to the new flood of overpriced organic stores and hoity-toity markets scattering your neighborhood, you can find an incredible variety of heirloom tomatoes with their characteristically and shockingly sweet, often pungent flavors.
Seriously, I don't mean to sound like a tomato snob, but you should do as I do, and spend way too much time hopping from one store to the next in search of a good collection of heirloom tomatoes before the season is over.
Now to the salad. When you have three ingredients with in-your-face flavor like heirlooms tomatoes, sweet basil, and balsamic vinegar, you don't really need anything else—except a little salt and pepper, of course.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
- 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
- 10 basil leaves
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Slice the tomatoes into 1/4" slices. Arrange on a plate.
- Chiffonade basil leaves and sprinkle on top along with the balsamic vinaigrette.
- Season with salt and pepper to your liking.