Every summer as mid-August starts to roll around, I wake up in the the middle of the night in cold sweats, not from some kind of dormant tuberculosis (though that would be a symptom), but from the nightmarish feeling that the season has passed me by and I have not made good enough use of it’s bounty.
That I haven’t plucked enough corn kernels, still raw, from their cob.
That I haven’t bitten into enough green zebra tomatoes, straight from the farmer’s market stand, as if they were apples.
Somehow, no matter how much I stuff my fridge to the brim with graffiti eggplants, pattypan squash, and fresh-from-the-farm butter lettuce…
…it just never feels like enough. Please tell me I’m not alone in this feeling of summer produce inadequacy.
So to try to combat this creeping fear that summer will be over before I know it and will take with it all that is ripe and good in this world (it is so bountiful when it rolls in, but so selfish when it leaves, no?).
I’ve made salad. A twist on a caprese, if you will, with caramelized heirloom tomatoes made even more rich by a good roasting, the fresh crisp leaves of butter lettuce, and a nice crunch from some slivered almonds. Each bite more reassuring than the last that, at least while you are eating this, it will all be okay.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Capers and Mozzarella
Serves 3-4, adapted from 101 Cookbooks
- 2 lb tomatoes (a mix of small heirlooms and cherry tomatoes, cut into wedges if the former, halved if the latter)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- fine grain sea salt, to taste
- 2 small eggplants, cubed
- 1/3 cup toasted almond slices
- 2 tbsp capers
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 1 bunch chives, minced
- Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, brown sugar, and a few pinches of sea salt. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Toss the eggplants with another pinch of salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tomatoes shrink a bit and start to caramelize and eggplant is cooked.
- When ready to serve, toss the tomatoes (and juices from the pan) and eggplants together in a large bowl. Add in the almond slices, capers, fresh mozzarella, butter lettuce leaves and chives. Toss to combine.