2 to 4 as an appetizer
2 large ripe tomatoes (I used heirlooms, one Brandywine and one Mr. Stripey)
1 large handful of basil leaves (I like using the tips as they go to seed, they overpower pesto but are awesome in this dish for their assertiveness)
4 tsp toasted pine nuts
4 Tbsp butter
Fleur de sel or another crunchy salt
Wash and dry your tomatoes. I like to then give them a slight chill but putting them in the fridge for a half hour.
Place the tomatoes on a cutting board stem side down. Using a sharp knife (you can also use a serrated knife but the edge won't be quite as clean), cut 1/2-inch thick slices top to bottom. (You can always cut them the regular way if you prefer, but I find these more difficult to core and not as elegant).
Remove any bits of core from your slices and then arrange them on a chilled plate around the fresh basil and and place a few pine nuts on each slice.
Brown the butter (place it in a glass bowl with a plate on top and microwave for 2 minutes, check, then continue cooking in 30 second intervals until it's nutty smelling and browned, you can do this on the stovetop too but I find the microwave easier and cooler in the summer).
Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and serve with Shabazi and the brown butter. You can serve these either on the side (as pictured) or on top, up to you and the tastes of those you're eating with.
You may not get a lot of juice to sop up since you're using a sharp knife and salting immediately before serving, but this dish is still great with warm focaccia.
If you end up with tomatoes that are a bit flat tasting (low acid), try brushing them with brown butter mixed with white or red miso and Lula N.41, then giving the slices a brief broil to char them a bit. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon. This works with perfect tomatoes also you just may not need the lemon.
Make a vinaigrette with Riviera Herbs, fresh garlic (which is coming into season right now here), olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Marinate tomato slices in this dressing for a few hours at room temp. You can also make this the day ahead and place in the fridge, just allow them to warm before serving so that the olive oil liquefies. I like a bit ofSmoked Salt N.8 to finish.
Something fun to do with green tomatoes. Make a remoulade with labneh, Blue Grass N.12, hot sauce, and some fresh or prepared horseradish. Spread this on a large plate and top with paper thin slices of green tomato (cut them cross-wise in this case), then toasted buttered breadcrumbs and a bit of fresh lemon. It's like a fried green tomato salad.
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