My daughter is working at a produce stand this summer. The biggest perk for me (besides the fact that she now has her own money and is staying out of trouble) is that at the end of the day she brings home all the blemished or “over-the-hill” produce. In most cases it’s perfectly fine, as long as I make a point to use it right away. Yesterday it was a bounty of tomatoes–most of which were super ripe and had a life span of hours at the most. They were big and juicy and heavy as water balloons, perfect for gazpacho or any other recipe which benefits from lots of juices.
After cutting out the bad or mushy spots, I crushed half of them with my hands, sprinkled with sugar, sherry vinegar, good olive oil, and kosher salt, then put them aside on the counter to “stew.” The other half I cut further and placed on baking sheets and roasted at 350 for a couple hours until silky and concentrated (to toss with pasta later in the week).
To the crushed tomatoes, I added fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and croutons I had made from the kid’s cheap white bread tossed with butter and garlic powder and salt. Yum. Summer in a bowl.
Gazpacho with Fresh Mozzarella and Garlic Croutons
5 cups crushed super ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or cubed
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil
6 slices white bread, cut into strips
2 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. Combine first 5 ingredients. Place fresh mozzarella in pasta bowls.Top with 1 cup crushed tomatoes, basil and croutons.
For a slideshow of ugly tomatoes submitted by readers click here.
For a step by step on roasting tomatoes click here.