Striped cavern tomatoes are briefly broiled, then drizzled with a white balsamic vinaigrette and topped with ricotta salata, fresh basil and fennel pollen. Garlic butter-fried croûtons on the side..
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3-4 oz tablespoons best quality olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen
1 teaspoon fresh green basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh purple basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
pinch of sea salt & a twist of freshly-ground black pepper
1 scallion, slivered
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1 thick slice bread, crusted and cubed
2 fresh striped cavern tomatoes
fresh basil leaves for garnish
2 oz ricotta salata (a pressed, salted and dried variety of sheep’s milk cheese), cut or torn into small pieces
Core and split the tomatoes across the equator. Place in a heat-proof pan and broil until they turn brilliant red, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Combine the vinegar, fennel pollen, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Whisk in the olive in a slow, steady stream until completely incorporated. Stir in scallions, basil and oregano and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add the bread cubes and cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a dish to drain.
To assemble, arrange two tomato halves on a chilled salad plate. Scatter ricotta and croûtons around the tomatoes and drizzle liberally with vinaigrette. Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.