My perfect day-off in Vancouver consists of an early jog around the Stanley Park seawall, followed by shopping for ingredients in Granville Island, and finished with a night in the kitchen with a loved one and a bottle of wine.
My mind shoots off in a million directions as I cruise through the bountiful public market and simultaneously contemplate menu options. On Thursday, two charming boys were selling heirloom tomatoes from the Okanagan. Naturally, I was suckered into buying a Green Pineapple, some Black Zebras, and some Boxcar Willies.
As I continued on, I considered the numerous possibilities to accompany these ripe beauties. Wild Morel mushrooms? Garlic scapes? To my surprise, I found their perfect partner in crime from the fish monger: sea asparagus.
I also picked up some mini Bocconcini for good measure.
Tanginess from the vine-ripen tomatoes, check. Saltiness from the sea asparagus, check. Milkiness from the Bocconcini, check. I needed something sweet. Oh look, Figs!
Sea asparagus is a plant that grows in salt marshes and smells just like the ocean. It is naturally briny so use salt sparingly in this salad. Its crispy texture is comparable to young haricot verts’ and improves with a quick blanching.
- 2 Heirloom Tomatoes
- 2 handfuls of vine-ripen Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 large handfuls of fresh Sea Asparagus
- 1/2 lb. ripe Figs, quartered
- 2 large Bocconcini or a dozen mini ones
- 1 bunch of fresh Basil
- 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Slice the tomatoes thinly and fan them out on chilled plates. Chill them further in the fridge. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and chill in a separate bowl in the fridge.
Blanch the sea asparagus in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and shock the sea asparagus in an ice bath. When it is thoroughly chilled, drain on a paper towel.
Meanwhile, reduce the Balsamic vinegar to 1/3 cup, remove from the heat, toss in the fig segments, and set aside.
Cut or tear the Bococinni into bite-size pieces. Chiffonade the basil leaves.
Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss the basil and sea asparagus with some olive oil, divide, and make small piles atop the tomato slices.
Place the Bocconcini, cherry tomatoes, and glazed figs on and around the sea asparagus. Drizzle with some Balsamic reduction, crack on more fresh black pepper and serve.