This week, it has felt like summer is finally here. You might say summer has been here for a while but that heavy, grey, mugginess that has been surrounding us for the last few weeks, and making me want to spend every second in a fridge or a cold shower, is not my idea of summer. For me, summer is sunshine, long walks, drinking in the day and eating dinners outside on sultry evenings. Thus my first al fresco dining experience of the year marked the beginning of my summer.
My first summer dinner had to be a salad. Salad’s are as synonymous with summer as orange airoplanes rammed with lobster skinned Brits and rain. This is a shame because, like the aforementioned, they don’t fill me with enthusiasm. I don’t particularly like salads, a bowl full of tasteless leaves and half a tomato does not a meal make. Food is supposed to make your heart sing and your stomach full, for the most part salads fall short on both counts. This, however, is not to say that salads have no potential. A few years ago they were in their gawky teenage years, they had glasses and braces and shaved carrot and oily, flavourless dressing. Now perhaps they are in their mid-twenties, a few mistakes have been made but they are growing into themselves and starting to look and taste good.
The people who know salads are really the italians, they realise the importance of proper flavour. This tomato salad is inspired somewhat by a Jamie Oliver recipe but I have switched it up a bit and added some mozzarella because I love cheese, I can never make a salad without cheese, it’s a real weakness. I think this is great on its own for a light dinner or starter, or equally brilliant as a side for fish or anything barbecued. Cost wise I splashed out a bit on this one because I wanted loads of different types and colours of tomato and I am lucky enough to live very near to an amazing fruit and veg shop. If you don’t have access to this kind of ingredients don’t fret, normal tomatoes are just fine, however, I would advocate buying the posh ones from the supermarket as they have so much more flavour. What you lose in terms of cost efficiency with this dish, you more than make up for in time saved, it is so easy to make but still looks impressive if served to friends. Continue reading