Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dean, Edna and a Recipe for Caprese Salad

It's been over twenty five years since I drove out to Middleton Plantation near Charleston, S.C. on a fog drenched, Spanish moss draped narrow highway.  I was on my way to meet the great chef and cookbook author, Edna Lewis.  It was 5 a.m.!  

As we talked about an upcoming photo shoot for Connoisseur Magazine (my one and only stint as a food stylist with no prior experience), we sipped coffee and ate Edna's freshly baked biscuits slathered with butter and strawberry jam.  As the tendrils of fog lifted and swirled toward the rising sun, Edna spoke to me of how food and it's taste had changed with the advent of creating plants for large and "shippable" products.  She lamented the fact that people my age and younger would never experience, among other things, the taste of real tomatoes--heirloom varieties--and tender leafy lettuces in a salad. 

We've now spent many summers enjoying heirloom tomatoes grown on small farms.  This summer, those tomatoes were joined by two new salad mix selections from Fresh Express and their salad artisan, Dean Fahselt.  Dean travels the world to find the perfect seeds.  Then, he and his team seek out the best ways to grow those seeds thus giving us artisanal blends grown from small crops that capture the flavor of the seasons.  

I wish Edna and Dean could have met.

Caprese Salad for Four

1 bag Fresh Express Artisanal Salad Wild Rocket Zest
A mixture of heirloom tomatoes (alas, no mixture here as the season is over)
Fresh mozzarella in 1/2 inch dice


1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed

Whisk all ingredients together before adding the garlic clove.  

Don't forget to check out your favorite grocery stores for Fresh Express Artisanal Salad demonstrations this coming weekend, October 16 and 17.  Bring some home and try your favorite recipe.  I'll be back to explain a recipe contest for you in a few days.