Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mr. Stripey Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

Nothing is more summery than a big, juicy tomato fresh off the vine.  The first tomato always brings excitement.  It is usually the small cherry tomatoes, which are delicious and juicy balls of sunshine that you pop into your mouth as soon as they are picked.  The anticipation of the first big tomato is a summer tradition.  While the evening soundtrack of cicadas, crickets and tree frogs plays in the background, I walk the tomato row looking for signs of ripening.  I had my eye on a big Mr. Stripey with anticipation.  It was a giant tomato and seemed to take forever to ripen.

Finally the moment came.  Time to harvest the first big tomato of the year:

Mr. Stripey Tomato: 1 lbs, 2 oz
This is my first year growing Mr. Stripey.  It is an heirloom variety that was discovered by Wayne Hilton in Georgia.  The reason I added him to my grow list, other than his cool stripes and giant size, is that it is an heirloom tomato that has been shown to have very good resistance to late blight.  With hot and humid summers in South Carolina, late blight always shows up in my garden.  Any disease resistance is a positive trait to have.  It is an indeterminate tomato that can grow very large, which I luckily have room for.  I just hope it doesn't get so tall that I can't reach the tomatoes!

What to do with this big, beautiful tomato?  I wanted to highlight it's loveliness and flavor, so I felt a Caprese salad would be perfect.

I assembled some simple ingredients: a big Mr. Stripey tomato, fresh mozzarella, garden fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

I sliced the tomato and the mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices.  Just look at that beautiful tomato!

Then I layered a tomato slice, a mozzarella slice and topped it with a basil leaf.  I kept making stacks and then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

A beautiful and delicious way to enjoy the first big tomato of summer.  Mr. Stripey has a low acid content, which means that the sweetness comes out.  It is not a strong or tart tomato, so a simple dish highlights its flavor without drowning it out.

If you decide to grow Mr. Stripey, be sure to not overwater.  They are prone to cracking and have a better taste with less water.

Savor those fresh garden tomatoes... summer is fleeting!


  1. Your tomato salad looks so good. I've never actually had a caprese salad before, but I'm definitely going try it soon.

  2. Wow - that is one GORGEOUS tomato! And your salad looks delicious - my mouth is watering! That's good to know about the blight resistance - blight often shows up in my garden too, so any resistance is a big plus - I'll be adding this guy to my list of varieties to try :)