How To Improve Tomato Flavor, Taste - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures How To Improve Tomato Flavor, Taste
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TIP OF THE DAY: How To Improve Tomato Flavor

Christmas Caprese Salad
[1] Deck the table with this colorful salad. The recipe is below (photo Bella Sun Luci | Facebook.

Caprese Salad Wreath

[2] Create a Caprese wreath on a platter. Here’s the recipe from the Daily Mail.

Caprese Salad Wreath
[3] This Caprese wreath uses the smallest mozzarella balls, called perlini (photo courtesy Country Living).


Is there anything blander than out-of-season tomatoes? The good news is that you can improve tomato flavor. Or, don’t by out-of-season tomatoes in the first place.

If you need bright red color in the off-season, use these alternatives:

  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Pimento*
  • Sundried tomatoes, marinated in olive oil

    If you truly must have slices of tomato, here are three tricks to make them better.

  • Marinate the tomato slices in vinaigrette. Use good olive oil and vinegar and immerse the tomato for 15 minutes or longer. Consider adding herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme) and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Marinate them in pineapple juice. Pineapple juice adds missing acidity and sweetness, but it requires a delicate hand so you don’t end up with pineapple-flavored tomato. Add the juice a tablespoon at a time and let it sink in; then taste.
  • Broil the slices. The heat will blister the skin and caramelize the sugars, creating a sweeter slice. Broil the tomatoes until the tops brown, then turn and brown the other side.

    With its red and green colors, Caprese salad is a natural during the holiday season.

    If the Caprese salad in photo #1 makes you want to dig right in, here’s the recipe.

    This recipe substitutes basil pesto and fresh parsley for the traditional fresh basil. We’re fine with pesto as an extra condiment, but if there isn’t fresh basil, it isn’t a Caprese. The mozzarella and tomatoes demand it!

    In other words, substitute the parsley in the photo with basil.

  • Sliced tomatoes or whole pimento
  • Sliced mozzarella
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Balsamic glaze†
  • EVOO
  • Julienne sundried tomatoes in olive oil (we use Bella Sun Luci or Mezzetta)
  • Pesto
  • Shredded basil (preferred) or parsley leaves
  • Kalamata or picholine olives

    1. PLACE the mozzarella slices atop the tomato slices and arrange them on the plate as desired. drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar.

    2. DECORATE the plate with stripes of balsamic glaze and pesto.

    3. GARNISH with the julienned sundried tomatoes, shredded basil, and olives.


    *Pimiento (pim-YEN-toe) is the Spanish word for a particular sweet chile pepper similar to a red bell pepper. It’s heart-shaped, about 3 to 4 inches long by 2 to 3 inches wide. In the U.S., it is largely spelled pimento. Here’s more about pimento.

    †Balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar that has been reduced into a syrup. The benefit here is that it will hold a straight line; i.e., it isn’t runny like vinegar. You can buy it or make it. Here’s more about balsamic glaze.




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