Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heirloom Tomatoes with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Basil (Page 144)


  • Date: Friday, August 15, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Emilee and Brian
  • Recipe Rating: B

Matty and I made dinner for Em and Brian last weekend and we chose this recipe as a first course because Brian has a whole garden full of delicious tomatoes. This recipe seemed bound to be tasty. I started by crisping some bacon (always a promising start!). Then most of the bacon fat was drained off and oil was added to the pan. In said oil I toasted rounds of white sandwich bread. After toasting and removing the bread, chopped shallots were cooked in some of the reserved bacon fat. Sherry vinegar was added to the cooked shallots to create a simple dressing. To assemble the tomato towers, a round of toasted bread was placed on the plate, then topped with a tomato slice, some basil, and crumbled bacon. This layering (minus the bread) was repeated several times, then the whole thing was topped with blue cheese, basil, bacon, and drizzled with dressing. Even looking at it on the plate it still seemed bound to taste fantastic. Actually, though, it was just ok. Texturally it was nice. The crispy bread and the crumbly bacon complemented the soft texture of the tomatoes and cheese nicely. The flavor, however, lacked depth. Everything in the dish was delicious, but altogether it tasted a bit messy, rather than being the well-balanced dish I had hoped it would be. This dish was trying to be part caprese, part BLT, but instead of tapping into the success of either of those dishes it just took it over the top. Also, the dressing was overwhelming vinegary, and paired with the acidity of the tomatoes there was just too much acid. The dish certainly didn't taste bad, but it's not a recipe that I would choose to make again.

Here is the recipe.

After ten lovely days in Northern California, tomorrow my special gentleman and I are hitting the road. We are flying to Detroit, where we will pick up my car (my special gentleman left it there nearly two weeks ago). Then on Friday morning we will drive up to Mackinac Island -- a little Northern Michigan island that is in Lake Huron. Despite having grown up in the Midwest, I have never been to Mackinac, but it sounds similar to my favorite Great Lakes islands: the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. We are headed up to Mackinac because there, on Saturday, my special gentleman's older brother Brad is marrying long-time girlfriend Deniz. Brad and Deniz are great people, and super-fun -- Matty and I have both been looking forward to their wedding all summer!

After our weekend in Mackinac we are headed, of crazy places, home!!! Yup, after nearly four month away, we are headed back to Indiana, and I am excited! I miss Bloomington. I miss my kitchen. I miss the department. It will be really nice to be home again! I had a lovely summer in Boston (and Chicago, Wisconsin, Denmark, Germany, Virginia, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Michigan, Montreal, California...) but I am ready to go home!


Anonymous said...

I live up Michigan way in Canada and have been to Mackinac Island a few times - despite the c in the name, I've never heard it pronounced as anything other than Mackinaw. It is quite touristy and a nice way to spend a day.

For folks not familiar with Mackinac Island ... there are no cars on the island and you get around either by foot or by horse. It's a neat little place. Check out Fort Mackinac and buy some fudge! :-)

Deniz said...

Thank you, Teena! :)

Teena said...

Anon: You weren't kidding about the fudge! How can one little island support so many fudge shops?!? It seems impossible!

It was a bit touristy, but a lovely place to visit!