I am all for complex recipes, wonderful melding of flavors, experimenting with new spices, vinegars and foods. But sometimes, I really enjoy just a very simple, beautifully presented, flavorful meal. This usually comes straight from the garden for me, as the flavors of a freshly picked vegetable are truly amazing.
I got to have this experience at a restaurant recently, and have tried to recreate the experience at home. My husband and I got to spend the Labor Day weekend up in NorCal, mostly around the Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Mendocino area. Let me tell you – I am falling in love with it up here. So many wonderful food co-operatives, a cookie company that actually has a gluten-free option in their coffee shop, beautiful green plants, and it isn’t 90+ degrees everyday!
But – on to the restaurant and the recipe. There is a wonderful restaurant right next to our hotel in Ukiah called Branches. They age all of their meat (amazing!), have wonderful sauces (some of which are actually GF), and offer vegetable options like garlicky green beans or broccoli, maple-glazed butternut squash and pan-roasted mushrooms! I was in heaven. But – the best, and most simple food I had while I was there, was a beautiful version of a caprese salad.
Heirloom tomatoes, feta cheese, basil and balsamic vinegar. Beautiful presentation, beautiful flavor, and such a simple, powerful combination.
So – here’s my copy-cat recipe and presentation!
Heirloom Tomato Feta Salad
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced in 1/4-1/2″ slices
- crumbled feta
- fresh basil, julienne sliced
- balsamic vinegar
- extra-virgin olive oil
- fresh ground black pepper
Arrange tomato slices on a small platter. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and julienne-sliced basil. Sprinkle crumbled feta over the top, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Serve and savour the flavor!
Simplicity is a beautiful thing!