Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I spend most of the year looking forward to the dry-farmed tomatoes from SeaLevel Farms. To me, they're everything tomatoes should be: small, with a dense consistency, not an ounce of mealiness, and flavor that makes me, for a brief moment, believe that there is nothing in the universe beyond this one bite.
And while run-of-the-mill fresh mozarella is always a lovely accompaniment, I wanted to take it a step further and make it with burrata, since if I get in early enough on Saturdays, I have a great source for it.
Finish that off with the tiniest bit of arbequina olive oil, a little aged balsamic, some sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and I was almost there. I just needed a bit of basil.
For years, I had trouble growing basil. When I purchased the basil plant, it would be lush and thriving, but within weeks, it would wither. I experimented with different amounts of water and shade, put them in the ground and in pots, and just couldn't find the right happy basil equation. But then someone at the Schoolyard mentioned that basil likes to grow in the shade of tomato plants. I had immediate success with that approach, and now each year in spring I plant a large pot with one of two tomato plants (usually purchased from the Edible Schoolyard's Mother's Day sale) and a variety of interesting basil. And that ensures fabulous basil (not to mention tomatoes) all summer long.