Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wedge Vine Tomato & Avocado Salad, and Choosing the Best Produce

Some of the best food is the food you leave the heck alone. Well, you eat it, so I guess in that way you're not leaving it alone at all. I just mean that if you choose your ingredients with an eye for freshness, there's often very little else you need to do to bring out their best. One of my favorite examples of this is my Wedge Vine Tomato & Avocado Salad.

This salad depends almost entirely on choosing your produce wisely. Here are some tips for getting the right tomatoes and avocados into your shopping basket as well as how to prepare them for serving.

  1. Shop the day before you plan on serving.  You're going to need to give your avocados a night to ripen.
  2. Buy avocados that are barely soft to the touch. Doing the best you can to keep them from touching (because they'll bruise) put them in paper bags overnight to help them completely ripen.
  3. Choose tomatoes that are still on the vine, firm (but not hard), nice and red, and have a good, strong garden smell. You don't need to refrigerate them. Even though refrigeration will extend the life of your tomato once it has started to become overripe, there's no sense refrigerating them before that point as it messes with the flavor in a big way. But keep them out of the sun!
  4. Slicing the tomatoes, and especially the avocados, is one of the last things you'll want to do before your guests arrive. Slicing the avocado too soon will result in an unappealing brown color. 
  5. Finally, if you're serving these outdoors, for example as part of the Picnic Lunch Menu, you'll want to wait until you get to the picnic site before cutting the avocados. Otherwise, you risk them being brown and mashed.
Wedge Tomato & Avocado Salad
Serves 8-10

6 medium vine tomatoes
4 avocados
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Slice each tomato and each avocado into six even wedges. Arrange face-up on a serving tray or in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt & freshly ground pepper and serve. Doesn't get much easier than that, kids!

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