Ode to tomatoes

My friend Liam coined this phrase the other night.

He typed it up onto a paper menu, a print-out for an opening the restaurant was catering at our friend Susie's gallery, Farm. I saw it during service, pinned up in the kitchen alongside the flats of tomatoes from Jack Stacey's farm—oranges, crimsons, purples—long romas with skin like marbled paper, yellow and red. The words sounded so light—like instead of heat and exhaustion and crowds August meant Ode to Tomatoes Month.

I think for now, I'm going to pretend that it does. So in celebration, here you are—not a left hand turn on Route 6—but a simple, fresh Caprese with basil and slices of gorgonzola-dolce-stuffed mozzarella, piled sky-high on baguette.


The key to this recipe, obviously, is good tomatoes. They should be ripe, sweet, oozy—August tomatoes in the peak of heat. A good, grainy sea salt doesn't hurt either—for sprinkling at the last minute, on top.

1 baguette
4 big, sweet heirloom tomatoes
1 ball gorgonzola-dolce-stuffed mozzarella
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic glaze
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Slice the baguette in half the long way, like you're cutting bread for a sub. Then cut the halves into reasonable lengths—6 inches or so. Core the tomatoes and slice them into rounds. Slice the mozzarella into rounds, too. Toast the bread, and once it's hot, drizzle it with olive oil and a few drops of balsamic glaze. Layer each piece with a handful of basil leaves, several slices of tomato, and a few rounds of mozzarella on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.

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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.