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Friday Recipe: Jamie Oliver’s Mothership Tomato Salad

Posted Sep 01 2008 7:06pm

Editor’s note: This post marks the return of the weekly Friday Fit recipe. The idea is to try “real food” recipes that can be prepared on the weekend. Of course, each recipe can also be prepared during the week (that’s when I’m trying it), but with the hectic schedules of most, a recipe might be easier to try on the weekend when work is generally less of a factor. If you enjoy this article on Almost Fit, please consider subscribing to my feed. Thanks.
tomatoes on an adirondack chair

I have been anxiously waiting for something to happen, and in the last few weeks, it did.

Our tomatoes have begun to ripen. (The photo above was taken this morning in our backyard.)

Tomatoes may sound like a pretty mundane thing to anticipate, but believe me, when you’ve shoveled a dozen tons of dirt into a large garden space and gone to the trouble of tending to them through the odd summer we’ve had, getting a few beautiful round red, green, and yellow orbs to spring from the ground is a welcome reward.

Summertime and fresh tomatoes are a childhood memory of mine. Somewhere around 6th grade, my memory was emblazoned with the sensory experience of growing our own tomatoes in a square-foot garden. My Dad was a fan of sliced tomatoes with salt (I was not, at the time - ah, how things have changed), and I remember the first harvest from the garden as being a momentous occasion.

These days, we are passing this memory down to our kids at their very young ages, one at 18 months and the other at 4 years. I recently listened to a program where the host described growing cherry tomatoes in his garden and then serving them to his children like grapes. We do the same. In fact, our biggest challenge with our cherry tomatoes is getting the ripe ones into a salad before anyone else gets them.

Not a bad problem to have.

Friday Fit Recipe #11: Jamie Oliver’s Mothership Tomato Salad

photo of tomato salad Today’s entry is based on a simple recipe that we stumbled across while watching Jamie Oliver. His program, Jamie At Home, is one of our absolute favorites. He cooks much like we do, so his fresh palate of ideas really gets our creative juices flowing. If you are interested in eating seasonally and enjoy a good English accent sprinkled with a passion for food combined with a great sense of humor, Jamie At Home is the place to be on Saturday mornings. (Sorry - I like run-on sentences. :) )

Last weekend we watched Jamie making “ The Mothership Tomato Salad “, and both of us could practically taste the goodness. When we made it at home this week, it didn’t disappoint - for such a simple recipe, it was incredibly good.

Ingredients

2 1/2 lbs fresh, locally grown tomatoes of different varieties (varying color is a great touch)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A good pinch dried oregano (we used fresh oregano blossoms from our herb garden)
Red wine or balsamic vinegar (we used balsamic vinegar)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
1 fresh red chile, seeded and chopped

Serves: 4 as a side

Preparation

For a more complete description, see the recipe link, here. I highly recommend both checking out the original recipe, as well as looking for Jamie’s show - the recipe is very clearly explained on the show, and really does make your mouth water.

In our case, here’s a quick summary of how we prepare it:

Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, varying the size and shape. For example, cut the cherry tomatoes in halves, and the larger heirlooms into several larger bite-sized chunks.

In a colander, season the tomatoes with a healthy dose of salt and let them sit for about 15 minutes, draining away a decent amount of liquid. The salting, true to the recipe’s description, didn’t make the tomatoes salty at all; the salt seemed to draw out moisture, leaving each bite even more flavorful.

In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, oregano, grated garlic, and finely chopped chili (no seeds) with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil (the basic salad vinaigrette ratio). Removing the seeds from the chili is one of the keys, as this removes the majority of the heat from the chili, but leaves a crisp, sweet chili flavor.

To Serve

Jamie recommends serving with fresh mozzarella, which is fabulous. In our case, the salad became an accompaniment to dinner over the next couple of nights.

Options

The original recipe called for dried oregano blossoms, but we found that the fresh blossoms, though not quite as concentrated, also added a brilliant aroma and flavor.

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