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A summer snowstorm

Shaved frozen tomatoes are the secret ingredient in this savory summer treat.

Summer is almost here, and I can literally taste it. It’s still early in the season, but soon there will be fresh ears of corn to boil and salt; zucchini to grill, fry and make into bread; cucumbers to pickle; peaches to flambe; and beets to roast. My favorite part of summer eating, though, is the tomato. I simply can’t get enough of them on sandwiches, topping my scrambled eggs, in salad, or even all alone with a tiny sprinkle of salt.

It’s not all fruits and veggies though; as the weather warms, my cravings also tend toward things that are cool and refreshing: ice cream, Popsicles and even frozen grapes are in heavy rotation to delight my tastebuds while the sun shines. One of my childhood favorites was a snow cone, especially with neon-colored syrup of some sort (who decided that raspberries are blue, anyway?) Even as, ahem, an adult of a certain age, it’s rare you’ll find me at a summer celebration without enjoying a frozen treat of some sort in my hands.

I never really thought about tomatoes being in on the frozen treat trend, but when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. This concoction is a grown up, savory version of a snow cone. It’s satisfying enough to serve as a meal and fancy enough to share with guests, so it’s an ideal choice for the myriad of picnics and barbecues that happen this season. The fresh cheese and tomato featured here are familiar and light. The twist is that the tomato is frozen and grated, à la that blue snow cone from the Sno Shack of my childhood.

Burrata acts as the base for this dish, a creamy and decadent palette for the bright flavor of basil, the tang of good balsamic vinegar, and the richness of olive oil. Once the salad is dressed, a tomato (frozen solid) is grated on a box grater to create a pile of savory snow. A crusty baguette, fresh and sliced thin, is really all you need to make this a meal. If you’re feeling the need for more, place it on a bed of arugula or serve it alongside a simply grilled piece of chicken or fish, but make the rest of the meal fairly simple to let the flavors shine.

Burrata is mozzarella’s oozy, decadent cousin. I like to let mine sit at room temperature for a little while before I make this to allow it to get nice and soft. Toast the bread if you like, but I prefer it softer to match the textures of the cheese. If the bread is fresh, you’ll still get a satisfying chew in the crust. Put everything in the salad together before you start to grate the tomato – it will thaw quickly once you start, so it must be served immediately so the mixture doesn’t turn into a mess.

Bite into this and it will really feel like summer. You’ll impress your friends and satisfy those summer cravings for flavors that are both cool and bright. As a bonus, this meal is light enough that you’ll still have room for dessert. I recommend a blue snow cone.

* While not offered at the restaurant, Pino’s Italian Kitchen & Bar shares our excitement for this Italian-inspired savory treat by sponsoring this month’s Recipe Exchange.  Check out their new brunch ad on page 11 of the June E Guide. 



Frozen tomato burrata salad

  • 2 4-ounce balls burrata, at room temperature
  • 1 5-ounce baguette, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large tomato, any variety, frozen solid
  • Basil leaves, chopped or whole, according to your preference

Gently place the burrata in a serving dish and cut the top with a sharp knife to “open” it. Top with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the tomato and place on top of the cheese. Garnish with basil and serve immediately with sliced baguette.

Article and photos by Lisa Crockett




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