Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tomato Salad: My Summer Obsession

I never know exactly what I'm going to come out with when I start  cooking.  Every recipe is a little bit different every time.  I love complex flavors, and I'm always tweaking my recipes to make them a little more interesting.  Sometimes, though, I don't even have an end point in mind.  I know enough about food to make sure that it's always edible, but sometimes it's better than others.

During LOAD513, I made this digital layout about just how crazy this habit of mine makes my husband because I don't have a name for everything that I make.

When I started making a tomato salad to go with dinner a few days ago, little did I know that it would be the my favorite culinary accident since the time I accidentally cooked Ramen Noodles until they were crispy (which was a fabulous discovery by the way).

I started cutting the tomatoes into ~1in chunks, and we had a bowl of perfectly ripe nectarines that was sitting nearby.  The smell of the fruit was intoxicating.  I knew they needed to be eaten before they went bad, so I started cutting them up too (not intending them to have anything to do with the tomatoess).  Next, onions went on the stove to get good caramelization going.  At this point, I thought we were going to have tilapia fillets with pasta (the onions were supposed to go on the pasta with some olive oil); the tomatoes and nectarines were going to just be side dishes.  But...It was such a hot day...I just didn't feel like eating pasta, so the caramelized onions went into the bowl with the tomatoes, but then that needed some acid.  I started digging through the pantry and found a peach infused white balsamic vinegar (but any balsamic vinegar would do), and in went some of that.  That smelled so much like the nectarines, that I decided they should go in too.  It was good at this point, but I decided to keep going: add basil, tarragon, a little salt and pepper.  Again, I could have stopped, but I didn't.  At this point what I was seeing in the bowl reminded me a lot of a tomato, shrimp, crouton salad that I make from time to time, so I figured I needed croutons, but I didn't have any. I did, however, have a boxed stuffing mix.  I threw in a handful and served up the salad with the tilapia fillet on top. 

It was was UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE.  I would show you a picture...but it was just so good I couldn't stop eating to pick up the camera.  I haven't had nectarines in the house since then, but I've had this salad again without them 3 times in the last week.  It's so yummy!

I'll understand if this doesn't exactly sound great to you, but you've got to try'll change your life!