Driving home from work tonight, the last thing I was thinking about was having dinner. Being out all day in this 90 degree heat does nothing for my appetite. Sometimes it’s just too hot to eat….at least anything heavy.
As I pulled into my driveway and started up my front steps I noticed a package by my door. Yes! My order from Di Palo’s Selects has arrived. After getting through the gauntlet of my German Shepherd Bella greeting me, always a welcome from her like she hasn’t seen me in years, I placed the box on my kitchen table and started opening it. Dinner was starting to gel in my mind.
Di Palo’s Selects is the online store of Di Palo’s Fine Foods of Grand Street in historic Little Italy New York. I am lucky enough to have these great Italian food stores so close, but ya gotta love the Internet. Just a click away from getting anything you want from anywhere in the world.
As I unpacked their Marracco Extra Virgin Olive oil from Sicily and some of the finest Balsamic Vinegar available, Gran Deposito Giuseppe Giusti, the aroma of the Grana Padano at the bottom of the box started to hit me. Bella was extremely attentive as well. She loves cheese, especially provolone, but the Grana Padano really perked her up. I was pretty excited myself!
I raced outside to see if my tomatoes were ready to pick and like all the planets were alligned, I had a ripe one with my name on it. I pulled up some fresh basil and oregano from my herb garden and started to prepare one of my favorite summer salads.
The only bright side of these 90 degree days is that my tomatoes are ripening very nicely. When I slice the tomato into the salad I make sure I don’t waste any of their juices on the cutting board, so I slice them right over the bowl. The olive oil mixed with the balsamic and the juices of the tomato make a great dipping sauce for the Italian bread.
Grana Padano is a cow’s milk cheese produced in Lombardia, Emilia Romagna, and the Veneto. Grana refers to the grainy, crumbly texture of the cheese and Padano refers to its area of origin, Italy’s bread-basket, the fertile Po River Valley. This hard cheese has a delicate taste and a sweet nutty flavor. It’s very similar to Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s a great grating cheese and goes really well as a complement to this salad. You will not find it readily at your local supermarket but most Italian specialty stores should carry it. You can always order it online from www.DiPaloSelects.com and get overnight delivery.
- 2 vine riped tomatoes
- 2 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 sprig fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- shavings of Grana Padano cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Cut the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle on the extra virgin olive oil. Add the Grana Padano cheese and drizzle on the balsamic vinegar. Mix well and serve with plenty of fresh Italian Bread. Add a few slices of prosciutto on the side with some olives and you have the perfect light summer supper!