Now that the-winter-that-wouldn’t-give-up finally did, it’s time to turn our sights to the wonderful products our gardens, local farms, and waters provide for us. Let’s start with one of my favorite appetizers, which involves more clever shopping with a sharp eye than it does cooking
Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Ripe tomatoes sliced thin
Mozzarella, sliced thin
High quality extra virgin olive oil
Roasted red peppers*
Sun dried tomatoes cut in half
Slice tomatoes and place on a platter as the bottom layer, the only layer that covers the entire platter. Place sliced mozzarella on tomatoes without completely covering the tomatoes.
Crisscross with red pepper strips, being sure to add juice from peppers if they are homemade. Dot with sun dried tomatoes pieces on top. Sprinkle with capers.
Drizzle olive oil and place basil leaves on top. Serve with crusty hard bread
Roasting Red Peppers
The quality of this dish depends upon quality of the ingredients. For instance, the red peppers are better if you make them yourself. This is easy.
Wash peppers and place on a baking sheet. Put in the oven on broil and as each side blackens turn the pepper. When all sides have blackened, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
When I was a kid, cooks used to put the peppers in a paper bag to cool. (I no longer do this.) Once peppers have cooled, remove outer skin. Tear the flesh of the peppers into strips.
Put peppers pieces in glass containers and cover with olive oil to preserve. A raw clove of garlic can be added to a container if so desired. A jar of peppers freezes beautifully.