The scent of ripe tomatoes has a special resonance with me. I remember walking through my grandad's garden, as a small child, brushing past the fuzzy green tomato plants. Every time I smell a really good, ripe tomato I'm magically transported back to being a six-year old in my grandad's garden.
And I think if you have a good, ripe tomato you don't need to do very much with it to enjoy it in a dish. I like to eat them with a simple dressing rather than mess about with them too much. And with LovetheGarden running a blog competition called A Taste for Tomatoes I thought I'd share with you this tasty but deceptively simple recipe.
I've used tomatoes straight off the vine - and British Buffalo Mozzarella which came from Laverstoke Park Farm in Overton, Hampshire. The buffalo milk comes from animals that are free range and the cheese has a firm texture and sweet, milky flavour.
Basil is a classic accompaniment to tomatoes and so I made a dressing, mixing it with extra virgin olive oil, salt and a trickle of lemon juice to perk it all back up a bit. I loved it. It's so simple but packs a lot of flavour.
Vine Tomatoes with British Mozzarella and Lemon and Basil Dressing
- 3 medium-sized, ripe, vine tomatoes (at room temperature, don't keep in the fridge)
- One ball of buffalo mozzarella - I used Laverstoke's
- Good pinch of sea salt flakes
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- a few fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
- the juice of half a lemon
- Chop the basil finely and place in a small bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil, lemon juice and throw in a pinch of salt and stir to mix. Bash the basil leaves slightly in the dressing, so that they release their flavour. Leave to one side.
- Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and the mozzarella and arrange on a serving plate. Scatter over a pinch of sea salt flakes, and drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes. Serve as an accompaniment or simply, with some crusty ciabatta to mop up the leftover juices. Bliss!