Heirloom tomato salad with Mona’s (Sunshine Farm) basil vinaigrette
We are just on the verge of tomato season here in the Okanagan and where better to get your tomatoes than at Sunshine Farm in east Kelowna. Run by Jon and Sher Alcock and their family, the farm is an intimate, hands-on operation that takes pride in quality and preservation and specializes in heritage rare and organic seeds from which they grow their produce. The Alcock’s daughter Mona Johannson, one of the best chefs in the Okanagan, runs the earth to table dinner series at the farm, an event that sells out within minutes of being offered and for good reasons. Mona and the Alcocks invite a limited number of guests to gather around their beautiful alfresco harvest table in their farmyard for a multi course delectable dinner prepared and served by Mona and her staff, composed entirely of their family members. I have been a guest at several of these dinners and wouldn’t miss the opportunity to attend them whenever they are offered. The food comes almost entirely from their farm and could not be any fresher or of better quality. Each dinner menu is designed to feature seasonal foods harvested from their certified organic farm or sourced locally if it is an ingredient that they do not grow or raise themselves. They also offer private events so watch for their upcoming events and private events opportunities here.
The last Earth to Table dinner we attended was memorable in every respect and I came back from it with Mona’s recipe for basil vinaigrette that I had to have and she was generous enough to share with me. The vinaigrette had a beautiful green colour and the flavours so balanced between the sweetness, acidity and herbal notes that I knew it would be wonderful with all kinds of foods. I was glad to get the recipe from Mona.
I have made it a few times already and today I picked a bunch of basil leaves from my rooftop garden to make this dressing for a tomato salad featuring perfectly ripe and beautiful green and red tomatoes. I asked Mona’s permission to post the recipe because I know you would love this too.
As far as the tomatoes go, the more varieties the merrier. Today I only had two kinds but as tomatoes begin to ripen I will make it with more varieties. The vinaigrette goes well with other things so let your imagination guide you.
For each serving count on one red and one green heirloom tomato. Cut the tomatoes in different shapes, some into wedges, some into slices and add smaller tomatoes for variety and visual effect.
Keep a few small basil leaves for garnish.
Pile the tomatoes in individual bowls or one large bowl, drizzle with the dressing (recipe below), garnish with micro greens and the small basil leaves and serve with extra vinaigrette on the side.
Mona’s Basil Vinaigrette:
2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 or 2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processer or blender and blend until smooth.
With motor running, slowly add the oil until the dressing emulsifies.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Did love this newsletter, particularly. Tomatoes, basil, lemon…all favourites. Although we live in st. Albert, Ab…..our farmers market will have an abundance of produce from the Okanagan. Basil vinaigrette on heirloom tomatoes foe dinner tomorrow for sure. Thank you as well for the trifecta of dishes as a perfect meal. Good call, anxiously await the next volume, Lila Gattinger
Lila, thank you for such a lovely comment. I hope you get our beautiful produce at your farmers market in St. Albert, Alberta. Enjoy the heirloom tomato salad tomorrow and I hope you find something inspiring in the next newsletter. I’ll think of you when I write it. Ciao.