I truly don’t think that my ripe and sweet Florida Ruskin tomatoes ever thought they would be seasoned with real Balsamic vinegar from Italy. This is authentic Balsamic vinegar (il borgo del balsamico) aged in oak casks carried with love by Wayne’s sister, Debbie, all the way from the Emilia Romano region of Italy. The bottle is small and lovely and filled with this dark and precious vinegar. What a fabulous gift. It is so, so delicious. Debbie told us that sometimes Italians put this vinegar over ice cream or fresh strawberries. I haven’t tried that combo as yet.
This evening I created the perfect tomato stack. I sliced a fresh, ripe Ruskin that I bought at my local produce market. I went outside and picked some perky Basil leaves fresh from our plants. They are doing really well. Wayne has grown a bunch of little basil plants from seedlings. They are really taking off now. I took out my pepper mill, extra virgin olive oil, Debbie’s Balsamic, and mozzarella cheese.
First I placed a tomato slice on the plate, followed by a slice of mozzarella, then a basil leaf or two, then some cracked pepper, then another tomato slice on top, followed by more basil, and then olive oil and a sprinkling of vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Voila! The Ruskin meets exotic Italy tomato sandwich!
I dedicate this delicious tomato creation to Wayne and his sister, Debbie. Debbie, thank you so much for thinking of us and for your thoughtfulness to carry this precious bottle of Balsamic all the way from Italy. And both Debbie and Wayne were raised in the Tampa area of Florida not very far where Ruskin tomatoes originate.
And last but not least, Wayne planted the seeds that grew into this amazing sweet Basil pictured above.
The tomato sandwich was sublime and truly an unexpected marriage of flavors. Thank you, Debbie, again, and thank you, Wayne. Thank you, Mom, for the gift of your beautiful plate (pictured above).