I don't know why we do this to ourselves, but so far, every time we've had to submit something for a blog event, we almost tear our hair out trying to come up with something "different"... or so we think.
It was no different for Wandering Chopsticks' Weekend Wokking event. The theme: tomato. (All info at the bottom of the post.)
We were torn: should we do something very simple? I mean, that is the best way to showcase the natural beauty and flavors of the tomato. I was tempted just to blog about a really ripe tomato sprinkled with coarse salt!
But then, if we do something simple, how are we to gain our blog-street-cred? ;)
I thought we could do something like a tomato and blue cheese souffle. I love tomatoes and blue cheese together. TS might have done a souffle before, but never in my life have I attempted one. Of course, we would have to buy ramekins to indulge in my souffle fantasies, which would require a shopping trip.
Nah, maybe next time. TS does not like blue cheese anyways.
We didn't end up with something super-simple, but I don't believe this was too complicated, either. We took inspiration from the classic Insalata Caprese and made, what we like to call...
To begin, I got the simple things out of the way.
I know, I know. Balsamic vinegar is not traditionally part of a Caprese salad. It goes so well with tomatoes, though! Plus, it's quite useful to have around to add to other dishes. (We used leftover reduction here, as a matter of fact.) The reduction is basically simmering some balsamic vinegar until it becomes syrupy.
Basil and Parsley Oil
I quickly blanched some parsley stems along with the basil then drained them. Into the blender the herbs went along with some olive oil. The more herbs to olive oil, the more potent the result. Of course, there's this straining business: I lined our big-holed strainer/sieve with a coffee filter and let it drip... drip... drip...
Now, for the Fresh Tomato Pasta.
We made the pasta tomato-y by adding a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to 6 eggs and 5 cups of flour.
The filling: roast tomatoes, basil leaves and bocconcini
We decided to roast the tomatoes in the oven, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, to concentrate their flavors and to prevent the filling from being too watery. Onto the pasta sheets went a basil leaf, a slice of roasted tomato, and one of these mini bocconcini. And a sprinkle of salt, of course.
Here they are all in a row.
I had the hardest time trying to keep out air of these ravioli. Those bocconcini are so bulbous!!! I was just hoping and hoping that the filling was actually sealed in.
They look like little heads under blankets. Very round heads, like those heads of chess-piece pawns.
Here they are ready for cooking.
For some texture contrast, I decided not only to boil the pasta, but to pan-fry them to crisp up their bottoms as well.
The top, the bottom and the interior.
To plate, we started with the basil & parsley oil, then simply piled up the ravioli, garnished with a slice of roast tomato and a basil leaf, then drizzled the plate with our balsamic reduction.
What's not to like here? Fresh pasta, roasted tomatoes, basil, and bocconcini. These are my simple pleasures in life.
The pan-frying was a good idea, because it provided a much-needed texture contrast to the melting ooey-gooey goodness of the cheese. Admittedly, the pasta did not really taste "tomato-ey," but the roasted tomatoes more than filled the tomato void.
Basil and balsamic. That might be a good name for a blog, don't you think? ;)
The flavour combinations are so classically perfect together that it is hard to think of another way to make it better. There is no messing about with a caprese salad. In this case, we just played around with the components and presented in what we hope is a playfully serious fashion.
Here is the ravioli caprese again:
eatingclub vancouver Weekend Wokking posts:
Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini
Pumpkin Congee w/ Pumpkin "Beignets" & Sesame-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese w/ Pipián Verde
Adobo Mushroom Tart
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Clear Oxtail Soup with Corn, Cabbage and Potatoes
Beijing Pickled Cabbage
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
Bangus Belly à la Bistek (Milkfish Belly with Onions, Calamansi and Soy Sauce)
White Pork with Garlic Sauce, Two Ways (蒜泥白肉)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways
We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.
The host this month is Blazing Hot Wok.
If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.
Check out all Weekend Wokking Roundups.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008