If you’re looking to transport yourself to the Mediterranean coasts of Italy and evoke la dolce vita, then delving into some culinary endeavours will help, especially if the countdown to your summer holiday is still looking lengthy.
When we’re looking to the quintessential tastes of the Mediterranean, then the sweet vibrancy and summery redolence of tomato, basil and olive oil often springs to mind.
The fact that combining these delightful ingredients couldn’t be simpler makes this winning combination all the more appealing! Here, we’ve rounded up a small selection of our favourite ways to combine this holy Italian trinity.
Bruschetta: The perfect light lunch snack to enjoy in the shade, bruschetta serves as a delightful vehicle for a host of fresh flavours. A good quality ciabatta is ideal here, when cut thickly, drizzled with olive oil, rubbed with garlic and lightly seasoned. A topping of fresh, lightly squashed tomatoes and fresh basil is a humble yet heavenly marriage which should be enjoyed.
Pasta: A simple combination of garlic, fresh basil leaves, olive oil and chopped tomatoes is all you need for a delightfully fresh pasta sauce. Best served with some fresh spaghetti, this is absolute proof that simple, well-utilised ingredients always reap rewards in the flavour stakes.
Salad: Containing a trio of Italian flavours (and colours), Caprese salad again proves what can be done with humble, fresh ingredients. Starting with fresh tomatoes, summer is always the best time to find the sweetest and tastiest examples. It’s also nice to mix up the varieties from cherry tomatoes to much larger beef tomatoes. You could even roast them to intensify the flavour. Good quality mozzarella is the next step or you could even opt for the even more decadent cream-filled burrata. Finally, sprinkle your torn basil leaves and dress with a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil. Perfecto!
Soup: Forget the tins, once you’ve rustled up a freshly made tomato soup, you’ll never go back! Sweating down carrots, celery, onions and garlic is a great starting point, before adding vegetable stock and tomatoes to simmer. Finally stir in some basil leaves and add to a blender until the soup is smooth. Then all you need is a drizzle of olive oil and a hearty chunk of crusty bread to serve.
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