Even more simple than its predecessor, this is my second recipe post and it, too, comes from my childhood. I was raised in Detroit, in what we Chicagoans refer to as a “2-flat.” My family of five lived on the first floor and Zia’s family of five lived on the second. My Grandpa, Mom & Zia’s father, also lived “upstairs,” as did Zia’s mother-in-law, Nonna, on occasion whenever she visited from Canada. Every Summer, Grandpa’s world revolved around his garden, more specifically: his tomatoes. Early each Spring, he planted seeds that he had harvested from the largest beefsteak tomato of his previous year’s crop. A few weeks later, he would select at least 2 dozen of the best seedlings for planting within “his half” of the back yard. Sometime around mid-July, the first of the tomatoes would ripen and from that point until the first frost, we had fresh tomatoes whenever we wanted. Not so coincidentally, it was around mid-July that Mom’s tomato antipasti would make their first appearance of the season on our dinner table.
I’m sure that most are familiar with insalata caprese, where slices of tomato are adorned with slices of mozzarella and basil leaves. A drizzle of olive oil and, sometimes, a splash of vinegar complete this summertime favorite. Although similar, Mom’s dish has 1 ingredient too many for some palates, but that just means there’s more for me.
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Mom’s Tomato Antipasti
yield: 1 platter
prep time: approx. 10 minutes
- 2 or 3 large ripe tomatoes, evenly sliced (more may be required, depending upon the platter size)
- 1 small can of anchovies in oil, drained and separated into fillets
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (more may be required, depending upon the platter size)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (more may be required, depending upon the platter size)
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt & pepper, to taste
- parmesan cheese
- Arrange the tomato slices in one layer across a serving platter. Season with salt & pepper.
- Separate the platter into halves and place 1 anchovy on each tomato slice within one of the halves.
- Sprinkle the entire platter with the chopped basil and parsley.
- Drizzle the entire platter lightly with extra virgin olive oil before adding a splash of red wine vinegar.
- Give a light sprinkling of parmesan cheese to the side of the platter that does NOT contain anchovies.
Taken as-is, this recipe comes with its own variation. If you like, you can separate the tray into 3 equal sections, prepare 2 sections as indicated above, and fill the 3rd with insalata caprese, as pictured above..
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