The appearance of this dish in my house heralds the arrival of the best part of summer when tomatoes are at their peak. I love to make this salad with yellow and orange tomatoes which can be very sweet. We like to make tomato-basil sandwiches with toasted seven-grain bread for lunch or a light dinner.
4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
1 ¼ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ cup Balsamic vinegar
1 ¾ cups good quality virgin olive oil
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 to 7 medium ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, about 1 ½ pounds (Yellow and orange tomatoes are wonderful, if available.)
12 to 15 leaves fresh basil leaves, stems removed*
1. To make the Garlic Vinaigrette, drop the garlic cloves down the feed tube of a food processor fitted with a steel blade while the machine is running. Mince finely. Open the lid and add the mustard and vinegar.
Pulse to blend, turning the machine on and off and slowly pour the olive oil down the feed tube in a thin stream with the machine running. The dressing should become thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. This will keep refrigerated for months.
2. Cut out the stem of the each tomato and cut into ¼-inch slices. Arrange on a plate. Rinse the basil leaves and blot dry with paper towels. Tear into thin pieces with your hands and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Pour some of the vinaigrette on top and serve some remaining on the side. Serve at room temperature or cold.
*Alternate slices of fresh mozzarella with the tomato, if desired.
© Copyright Nina Simonds 2008