Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tomato Candy!

Pomodoraccio - it doesn't come trippingly off the tongue, but for every syllable, there's a wallop of flavor!  I was first introduced to Pomodoraccio at Sigona's Market in Redwood City. Available in the olive bar, these semi-dried tomatoes have made a huge difference in bumping up the flavors in many of my salads and appetizers. I call them Tomato Candy!

Not nearly as tooth-some and tart as regular sun-dried tomatoes, and available year round which makes for a nice substitute in the non-tomato months, Pomodoraccio has a sweet, meaty flavor component that brightens any dish to which it is added. I first incorporated them into a simple salad of arugula, mozzarella marinated in Sigona's Summer Peach White Balsamic Vinegar, with Parmesan shavings. No fuss - the marinade from both the fruit and the cheese was all the dressing needed.

Then came a brainstorm - how to transcend the traditional Caprese Salad as an innovative and swoon-worthy appetizer. I love this presentation - elegant and simple - but more so, I love the surprise I see in guests' eyes when they are hit with the amazing flavor of these rather innocuous strips of tomato, the creaminess of the mozzarella and the mixture of marinades. The basil on top adds color and earthy, herbal flavor. This is not your Italian grandmother's Caprese Salad!

Then...I took this concept to another, less formal level: The Pomodoraccio Skewer.

Humm...I'm seeing a savory tomato cheesecake in my future. Ya never know!

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