Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tomato, to-mahto

Charleston, S. C., one of this country's great restaurant cities, begins restaurant week tomorrow, Sept. 8, through Sept. 19. One group of restaurants offer three courses for $20, another, including Charleston Grill and Slightly North of Broad, offer three for $30. Go to www.charlestonrestaurantweek.com for details and menus from the 50 participating restaurants.

One restaurant not participating, FIG, as in the Food Is Good, and Executive Chef Mike Lata were recently featured by The Food Channel.

Naturally I wanted a recipe from chef. Given the season, why was I not surprised to get one for heirloom tomatoes?

                      Chef Lata's Heirloom Tomato Salad 
                       Serves 4

2 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1 rib celery, peeled
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Maklon sea salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper
1 cup day-old baguette, crusts removed, 1/2-inch dice

Coat the bottom of a saute pan with olive oil and warm over medium high heat. Add the croutons and begin to toast until golden brown. Season lightly with salt and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Using a mandolin, thinly slice heart of celery stalk and tear off celery leaves. Arrange sliced tomatoes around center of platter. Scatter celery slices, celery leaves and red onion slices over tomatoes. Top with croutons. Drizzle entire dish with extra olive oil and sprinkle with a generous amount of sea salt and cracked pepper.

Don't you just love food that tastes so good by itself all you need is a sprinkle of this and that?

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