• Nicola Zaina

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Simple Tomato Salad

This was inspired from my last visit to OZCF, when you find such great ingredients there isn’t much you need to do to them, in fact the less you do to them the better, as they shine through all by themselves.

Every summer I despair at the quality of tomatoes available. I would rather not have mediocre tomatoes available throughout the year and have spectacular ones in summer. But despair no longer because a fabulous farmer in Caledon is growing heirloom tomatoes and I had almost forgotten how tomatoes should taste.

Don't even think of making this if you don't have sun ripened heirloom tomatoes. See the end of the recipe for more on heirloom vegetables and why they are so important for our food security.

Tomatoes, I like to think of them as a savoury berry. Like berries it is their flavanoids that make them such an important antioxidant food. The lycopene found in tomatoes is especially helpful for keeping the prostate healthy, but they should be cooked to get the full benefit of the lycopene.

Juicy and full of water they are the perfect summer snack.

Only 6 Ingredients

Assorted heirloom tomatoes chopped and sliced in different ways

Mozzarella, I brought a tub of hand made Nodini from Puglia cheese at the market, it was the cheapest mozzarella available R35 for 125g and came in three pieces (see below)

Basil, chopped, I almost feel that the basil is too over powering so you can leave it out.

Sea Salt

Ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil


Mix together and leave to stand for about half and hour, you want everything to be at room temperature. Enjoy as is or have on a slice of toasted sourdough bread rubbed with garlic.

Heirloom Vegetables

Heirloom vegetables are all the wonderful diverse varieties of a vegetable that have been grown through the ages, sometimes past down by families. The diversity is breathtaking tomatoes of every colour red, purple, yellow, orange and green and different sizes and shapes. This diversity is true for most vegetables, fruits and grains, you would be surprised at how bountiful nature really is. Farmers have been making a concerted effort to keep access to these seed varieties by creating seed banks, but many varieties have already been lost.

But we don't see this diversity. What we eat today is limited and not always as beneficial as it once was. Many of the grains have been altered to suit the food industry, for example wheat with a higher gluten content to make lighter bread. For convenience and due to large scale industrial farming we only got a few options. So we began to think red tomatoes, orange carrots, white potatoes, so boring. I just couldn’t get my head around the fact that you could get a ripe green tomato! It is all about control, seed companies sell the hybrid seeds and in some places these are the only ones that are allowed to be grown. Every year seed needs to be brought as these varieties do not open pollinated, lots of money for seed companies.

When you visit OZCF you will get to experience some heirloom varieties especially with the types of tomatoes available. You can also find carrots in beautiful colours. Hopefully over time more producers will be offering heirloom varieties and we will remember how food used to look and taste.

#heirloomvegetables #tomatosalad #OZCF #mozzarella

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