Heirloom tomatoes stand-out of the crowd for their so-called ugliness. They also stand out from the other mass-produced automatoes because they appear to have a soul. That sweet expression of compassion tinged with sorrow carved onto their little face can only be interpreted as a deep concern for the dismal state of things in the world. Like most of us, they aren’t aware of their own deliciousness but they differ in the fact that they surrender to their fate without a hint of resistance. And their fate is to be on our plates my friends. Zen is all about seeing deeply into the nature of things by direct experience, therefore, a zen chef should seek to embellish heirloom tomatoes without masking their perfect taste. He should also be fully present as he prepares them.
In other words, knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in your fruit salad. Get it?.. Me capiche?
Let’s go over the four noble truths of heirloom tomatoes (cuz it needs to be repeated).
- know your tomato (ripe, and in-season please)
- a sprinkle of fleur de sel (’nuff said)
- a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- a drop (and i mean a drop) of balsamic vinegar
I am aware the fourth truth is bordering on blasphemy and purists could declare war on me, but what can i say? The zen-man likes it that way. Anything more than this is pure indulgence (or foolishness) and should be limited to mozarella (preferably Buffala), fresh basil and freshly cracked black pepper. A well-made Caprese salad is enough to awaken the Buddha in you. Pure Perfection!
Anyone using less than stellar ingredients for this will this dish will be spanked senselessly with a wooden spoon. Inadmissible. Form a line here* if you ever prepared Insalata Caprese with tomatoes hard as hockey pucks.
Placing a raw steak on your spanked buttocks will relieve the pain. Steaks aren’t provided by this blog but i can post a nice steak recipe instead. I am not a monster after all!