Anyway, I digress! Ricardoe's grow hydroponic tomatoes and strawberries - with what seems like acres of distinct tall strawberry 'walls' designed for easy picking. So easy that they invite you to do this yourself and well, we didn't mind if we did! You are given some little scissors to assist in the picking and don't damage their plants too much. So off we went and what a haul!! Two big bags full of luscious red strawberries (the strawberries you see on the M and B blog are Ricardoe's!).
I guess it would also seems strange if we visited a farm known for tomatoes and not get anything remotely tomato-ey. We tasted some delicious home made spreads and returned home with their Green Tomato Pickles and Tomato Relish. Both very tasty on sandwiches, roast meats and with cheese. The Green Pickles a little more tangy and less sweet than the Relish.
I also scored two bags of the little gems below - cherry tomatoes just bursting with flavour and just begging for basil and olive oil. So what did I do? Went in search of a zinging salad to make the most of these little babies. Bill Granger came to my rescue with his Tomato Salad with Burrata and Basil Oil - straight from his beautiful book Bill's Basics. It's light, fresh and super easy to make - the stars are the tomatoes though, so use the best you can find.
Bill Granger's Tomato Salad with Burrata and Basil Oil
(from Bill's Basics p98)
2 slices of good bread (I used some olive sourdough from Banneton Bakery, Balaclava St - the Gabba), torn into small pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g ripe tomatoes, cut into small wedges (or in the case of the cherry tom's - halved)
basil oil (recipe follows)
125g ball burrata or mozzarella cheese (I used bocconcini)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Lay the bread pieces on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with crushed garlic. Season with sea salt and ground pepper and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Arrange tomatoes on a serving platter. Season with sea salt and pepper, drizzle with the basil oil and top with torn burrata (or mozzarella) and the toasted bread. Scatter with basil leaves to serve. (serves 4 or 2 hungry people like Mr and Mrs B!).
Handful of basil leaves
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds and then rinse under cold running water. Drain and squeeze as dry as you can. Pulse in a blender or processor with the pil and a pinch of sea salt until well mixed.
Finished salad with bread and torn basil leaves