Tomatoes – one of the classic summer vegetables. I have a love/hate affair with tomatoes. When fresh and juicy with a sprinkling of salt the taste is sublime. But I used to HATE fresh tomatoes with a passion, oddly enough, as I have always loved to cook with them. It wasn’t until a trip to Italy visiting my sister who was studying abroad that I tasted what I consider to be my first “real” tomato. Figures. Leave it to the Italians! It was at a local pizza restaurant in Trastevere, Rome and I can still remember that dinner to this day. Twinkling street lights, laughter from the piazza and friends eating outside under the stars. It doesn’t get much better than that. Those fresh San Marzano tomatoes were devoured by all.

In the spirit of the last days of summer, I give you Sliced Tomatoes with Ricotta, Thyme and Meyer Lemon Oil. I had something similar to this at a restaurant a couple weeks back and decided to re-create it, my way.

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I served this beside a medley of different bites – some grilled asparagus, pecans, apricots, sliced apples and a hard boiled egg. The combination may sound weird but this is one of my favorite ways to eat. A little bit here, a little bit there. Tasting all sorts of flavors at one time. I’ve also become obsessed with eating off wooden cutting boards. They create the perfect artist’s palette for food when arranged!

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In typical Kristinkooks fashion, this isn’t so much a recipe as a method. Feel free to play around with different combinations to your heart’s content…and happy last days of beautiful golden summer. . .

Simply slice a large tomato into as thin or thick slices of your choosing. Lay flat on cutting board and sprinkle with sea salt. Add a small dollop of ricotta cheese, fresh thyme leaves, meyer lemon olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. I also added some fresh chopped green onions and sprinkles of parm.  I could see making a garlic infused ricotta and subbing that for plain ricotta as well. Or instead of meyer lemon oil, a basil olive oil. Play around and see what suits you best. But most of all, enjoy the last of summer’s harvest!

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