July 1, 2009 – It’s the first official day on the blog job and I’m writing, with fork in hand, from Cazo, France.
Cazo is one of my favorite places. It’s a farming hamlet full of goats, sheep, grape vines and fig trees nestled neatly in the foothills of southern France. Sound exotic? It is. And hot, too. Temperatures here regularly reach 100 degrees in the summer. This kind of heat can make it a bit intimidating to cook, making the thought – and the taste – of “cool” foods very appealing.
On this particular July day, as I write, the sun is ferocious enough to send even the hearties grape vines scrambling for cover. So on this evening’s menu are Cazo capers – cool, tangy little flower buds harvested in our village and then preserved in a glass jar filled with vinegar. I plan to marinate them briefly with chopped tomatoes and then sprinkle them over a salad composed of oak leaf lettuce and endive. This combination should taste perfect served with grilled fish, which we’ll purchase at a nearby Mediterranean beach later this afternoon. And none of these flavors would be complete unless accompanied by a glass of local Rose – chilled, of course.
Cazo Tomato and Caper Salad
1 TBS Xerxes Vinegar
1 TBS Red Wine Vinegar
4 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS Capers
A sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper
2 Medium-Sized Tomatoes, cut into wedges
A handful of fresh basil cut into a chiffonade
Oak Leaf and Endive Lettuces (optional)
Combine the vinegars, olive oil, capers, salt and pepper. Toss with the tomato wedges and let marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour. Sprinkle the tomato and caper mixture with basil. Serve on a bed of lettuce, in desired. Don’t forget the glass of Rose.