Out on the Start Fresh farm, walking through the rows is always exciting this time of year. The lush green plants remind me why we put so much effort into growing food. And the first time I see the deep red of a ripening tomato in between the vines I still get a little taken back, realizing the reward for all the months of anticipation. (This year we planted well over 200 tomato plants, far above our 50 plants of last year and a new record for the farm!)
Tomatoes are one of those things that you can find a use for all over the kitchen. Mountain Mama’s canning method is a great way to ensure you have access to fresh tomatoes year round, but if you’re anything like me, the freshness of a tomato that has just ripened in the sun is something that is best enjoyed fresh.
I am a huge fan of the classics, and finding ways to use fresh produce in them is something Chefs wait all year for. Since I entered the industry 20 years ago, I have been making the classic Caprese salad. It's as simple as a tomato and mozzarella salad sounds to make, I am going to give you a few tricks that will help transform this fresh summer favourite into the noteworthy Caprese.
The most important thing to remember when creating this dish is something that rings true for all cooking, and something we educate on during every cooking class at Start Fresh. You need to use great ingredients to make great food. Roma tomatoes from the grocery store and mozzarella from a bucket are simply not going to give you the results you’re looking for. So I’ll let you in on a few special places to visit.