Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tomato Salad with Bariani Olive Oil and Maine Sea Salt

A satisfying Sunday afternoon refresher. Perfectly red vine-ripened tomato. Unctuous, peppery olive oil. Crunchy salt. Bright and strong basil.

As delightful as a tomato at the pinnacle of ripeness is, especially with the addition of grown-by-Matt-in-the-windowsill basil, what makes this salad/snack shine is the proper selection of the olive oil and the salt. Options abound. I want to share with you my choices:

Bariani Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Maine Sea Salt. The Bariani, I get at the Walpole Grocery at Burdick's in Walpole, NH. The Maine Sea Salt I picked up in a random shop in Bar Harbor, ME. But both can be ordered online.

If you're looking for a special olive oil, the Bariani is great for any raw olive oil application, from drizzling on vegetables or blending with a vinegar or lemon juice for salad dressings. I would never use this olive oil in cooked applications, because it is too expensive to allow heat to kill its nuances.

Until I started using the Maine Sea Salt, I thought that a good kosher salt would suit my needs anytime. The Maine Sea Salt has a delightful crunchiness, and the flavor has a clean saltiness, like breathing in the salt air on a clear day on the Maine coast. I use the Maine Sea Salt on vegetables and fruit, and raw salads of all sorts. I wouldn't put into pasta water or bake with it, for it is too crunchy and too distinctive to work in dishes like that.


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