Raise your hand if you consider yourself an amateur gardener. (mine is raised!) It really is so exciting to come in with an overflowing basket of veggies that you grew with your own two hands, but finding something to do with that plethora of produce sometimes requires consulting the experts. Like this expert heirloom tomato recipe! Because if you are running out of room on your kitchen windowsill, this is the perfect salad for all of those ripe beauties. And nothing pairs better with some balsamic drizzled ‘maters than warm, melty, panko-and-pecan-crusted mozzarella cheese!
Speaking of experts, this tomato recipe was featured on WIBW where Ag Education expert Serita Blankenship told us about some incredible programs that are helping to get the facts about agriculture into our Kansas schools. Did you know the Kansas Farm Bureau gives out grants to school teachers every year to help increase Ag awareness among Kansas students? They also encourage family time and educational opportunities to teach children about the importance of agriculture in each of our lives.
To do so, they’ve created an entire web page dedicated to providing teaching tools, curriculum, and over 30 DIY projects to help parents and teachers share the ‘good news’ of agriculture with the next generation. To learn more, visit www.kfb.com and click on Education & Outreach, and go get Ag savvy! (right after you try this recipe)
HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD w/ PECAN-CRUSTED MOZZARELLA ROUNDS
1/3 cup pecan halves, chopped very finely
1 oz. parmesan cheese, grated fine
16 oz. log fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into ¼” rounds
1 Tbs. all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup panko crumbs
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lbs. assorted tomatoes, all colors and sizes, large ones sliced and small ones halved
2 Tbs. good balsamic vinegar
½ – 1 small red onion, sliced very thinly (use as much as you prefer)
¼ cup good olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Slice mozzarella into 8 rounds.
In a small bowl, combine pecans, cheese, and panko crumbs. In another bowl, place flour; into a third bowl, place beaten egg. Lightly dredge each mozzarella round in flour, shaking off excess; dip into egg mixture, and then into the prepared pecan mixture, coating evenly, pressing mixture into cheese slightly to make sure it sticks well.
Using a large skillet over medium high heat, add oil; when oil is shimmering brown prepared mozzarella rounds 2-4 minutes or until coating is golden brown and cheese softens slightly around the edges, turning once. (Don’t overcook or the cheese will ooze out.)
In a small bowl, toss red onion slices with balsamic vinegar; set aside.
In a small skillet, combine olive oil, lemon, and garlic until nicely warmed.
Divide tomatoes between 4 serving plates; scatter vinegar and shallot over tomatoes on each plate; season with salt and pepper, to taste, then drizzle each plate with warm dressing. Top each plate with prepared mozzarella rounds and serve.
**KitchenSmack: How do you know if your balsamic vinegar is “good”? If you can sip it and it’s an enjoyable experience, you’ve got good balsamic vinegar on your hands. If you sip it and it’s excruciatingly sour and bitter, you’ll know immediately that you need to invest in a better vinegar. A good bottle of balsamic vinegar will start at around $15, but keep in mind that you’ll typically be using only a few tablespoons at a time when cooking with it.
Now You’re Cookin!
**This recipe was featured on Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen with Kansas Farm Bureau, as part of WIBW 13 News This Morning, August 6th, 2015.
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