Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Warmed Sliced Tomatoes are good as a side dish or served over thickly sliced bread drizzled with olive oil for a heartier dish.
2 medium Beefsteak tomatoes, sliced*
Fresh basil, torn into small pieces.
Freshly ground black pepper
A sprinkle of salt
Heat olive oil in pan and add sliced tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until slices are thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and toss in your basil and stir gently. Place tomatoes on a large warm plate and add a dash of balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle torn basil over this Or place tomatoes on a piece of warm crusty bread before adding the vinegar, olive oil and basil. However you serve these tomatoes, thing is clear, so simple but so good. Add a couple of slices of hard salami and you have a feast.
*Use ripe, but overly ripe tomatoes, you don't want them to turn to mush when you slice them. If you can't get good beefsteak tomatoes, use 4 or 5 good plum tomatoes.
*Look for a really good balsamic vinegar. This vinegar is a reduction of white sweet grapes that are boiled to a syrup and aged. Do not buy one with caramel or brown sugar added. Better to buy good balsamic vinegar in a small bottle to be used sparingly, rather than a larger bottle of inferior balsamic vinegar. I have a bottle of Giuseppe Giusti brand balsamic. It is 8 ounces and should last a while. When I am in a shopping mall, I always look for a TJ Maxx store, they usually have a small but good section of gourmet-type foods. All prices are reduced.
Recommended cookbook: Michael Chiarello's Flavored Oils and Vinegars: 100 Recipes for Cooking with Infused Oils and Vinegars. This is a good book to borrow from your local library.