Savory Summer Salad

After a long winter of imported vegetables we are starting to see local produce arrive in our supermarkets.  My daily go-to is an independent grocer called Battaglia’s.  It’s one of those rare grocers that still sits in the middle of a neighbourhood, this one Lorne Park in South Mississauga.   I also shop at Loblaw’s and Metro as well as Organic Planet, Elmwood Butchers, Just Steak and Auld Doug & Son Butchers on Clarkson Road.  Each have their forte and work hard for my business.

Battaglia’s has everything you need from fresh organic to ready-made, but the two reasons I go are the staff [where everybody know your name] and their sense of adventure which is as large as mine.  It’s guaranteed that every time I go in there will be some new, a BBQ sauce or a homemade frozen pasta entree that is just begging to be tried.

This week tasting adventure was offered in-store by Dolores of The Olivar Corp. who is passionate about health, whole food and it’s taste.  I left purchasing their San Carlos Transparent Balsamic Vinegar and the Oro San Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain.

Except for the olives in my martini’s, I must say that I know little about them, their production, harvesting and varietals.  Most of the olive oils I use are for cooking with as the health benefits are well documented.

With some fresh hot house tomatoes and basil, I wanted the dressing to be cleaner – to have the flavours compliment, not mask each other in taste and colour.

The delicate flavour of the oil and the transparency of the vinegar were a perfect match for this salad.  I sliced the tomatoes, which should always be at room temperature, and ripped the basil over top.  The oil and vinegar can be mixed in proporations to suit your taste.  The amount you add to the salad is also subjective.  Rick, my husband, for example likes more dressing on his salad than I do.

I had a hankering for something salty and savoury on the side, this time adding goat cheese.  My favourite currently is the award winning Le Cendrillo from Québec’s Alexis de Portneuf.  It’s a vegetable ash-covered cheese with a fairly strong taste.

This salad turned out amazing and I can’t wait to make it again.