As I write this, it’s actually early October and most things are turning pumpkin right now. But one thing I I love about this time of year is the way summer crops are still amazing and abundant in the market, be we are getting a peak at the season ahead with squash, apples and root vegetables.
So I know it’s a little strange to be writing about caprese in October, but the heirloom tomatoes were calling to me. They are still as beautiful as ever.
And it’s still 90 degrees.
I used to make this dish at Cru, a raw vegan restaurant I ran in Los Angeles. Young Thai coconuts are available at Whole Foods for sure, but you can also find them at an asian market. Be sure to buy a couple-you might get one where the meat is not so great! And the water inside is so delicious, none of it will go to waste. I like to use fresh coconut water as a base to smoothies or I just drink it straight. It’s so much better fresh out of the coconut.
You’ll be using the soft flesh inside as the “mozzarella” part of the caprese. I gently scoop it out with a spoon and then cut it into rounds with a biscuit cutter. It looks remarkably like slices of mozzarella, and the flavor of coconut goes naturally with basil, tomato and olive oil.
- 2 heirloom tomatoes
- 2 young Thai coconuts
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup basil, packed loosely
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- To open the young Thai coconuts, cut off the pointy top with a cleaver.
- With the heel of the knife, score around the top of the coconut until you are able to open the top.
- It is helpful to put a towel underneath the coconut while you are cutting off the top to keep it from moving around.
- Once the top has been removed, dump out the coconut water inside out into a bowl. Save it to drink later!
- With a spoon, carefully remove remove the white coconut flesh, being careful not to tear it and to remove it in as large a piece as possible.
- Run some cool water over the coconut flesh to clean it and remove any remaining pieces of shell.
- To prepare the tomatoes, wash them and cut into thick slices about ¼" thick.
- Layer the slices of tomato with the coconut meat on a tray or plate and garnish with basil leaves.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze, olive oil and garnish with salt and pepper.