28 July 2008

Caprese Salad

Insalata Caprese
Caprese Salad (with title)
I'm sure many of you are starting to get sick of my usual boo-hooing on your blogs-- "That looks wonderful! Too bad we don't have raspberries/ rhubarb/ fleur de sel/ celeriac/ apricots here!" Actually that list would be longer if I had included things that were available, but really rare or prohibitively expensive. Case in point: US artichokes just made their way into the supermarkets here, each one 5-6 inches in diameter and about $9.22 each. Clean-up on aisle 4, someone just barfed forever and ever. Guess I will have to settle for canned ones. Another one of those expensive things is buffalo/fresh mozzarella, which would probably be about $4.50 at the popular delicatessen for a few tiny balls you can snort with a thin pipe.
Salcedo Market - Fruits 2
Imagine my delight when I saw locally-produced fresh water buffalo mozzarella (3 2-inch balls for about $3.25) at Market! Market!. I didn't exactly know what I'd make when I bought them, but I had to check out the quality. Verdict: the smell threw me off a bit (ah, so this is what real cheese is like), but the texture, color, and taste is absolutely dreamily creamy. Not gray/yellow, rubbery, and salty. Now, if only I had good, ripe tomatoes to go with them. The cherry tomatoes I used for this salad are typically prematurely-picked, sour-ish balls of disappointment (note to farmers: WAIT TILL RIPE, SERIOUSLY). But my friends did enjoy the salad a lot (right, Genie and Vany? Anton?). The picture above is not of Market! Market!, but I thought I'd continue with part 2 of Wow! Philippines with my trip to the posh Salcedo Village Saturday Farmer's Market.
Salcedo Market - Human Traffic
Taking a cue from Jen's pictures of Boulder County's Farmers Market, I decided to show you guys our version, right in the middle of the financial district of Makati (you might see Joey of 80 Breakfasts if you look hard enough). What we lack in artisan cheeses, we make up for in attendance. Take a gander at the crowd! I am talking SHEETS of people, weaving around each other the whole day. Foodies, foodie wannabes, and food-lovers who hate the term "foodie" (me!)-- they all come here. There were also some people armed with DSLRs, which made me kind of cringe with my lowly PS in hand. For some reason, I can't get over the embarrassment of getting in some vendor's face and taking a picture of their stuff, especially if I'm not buying. It's not like eye-rolls will kill me. But I feel like I'm disrupting business.
Salcedo Market - Seafood
One of two seafood stalls, where you can regularly procure lobsters. The other one has frozen seafood. This was a big let-down, as the seafood was DEAD and not on ice. Yuck. Get a clue, fishmongers. I'm surprised people actually buy from this stall. The other one had the promise of frozen Monkfish, which I'd been looking for forever, but they said they hadn't caught any for a long time now, which made me depressed.
Salcedo Market - Organic Vegetables
Organic vegetables... (good, if ordinary, selection-- but at least the quality is nice)
Salcedo Market - Fruits
... and fruits. From the back: apples, tangerines, avocados, lemons, custard apples, mandarin oranges, santol ("wild mangosteen"), rambutans, mangosteens, lansones (Lansium domesticum). From the picture above: bananas, melons, pineapples, durians, what look like yams, and tamarind.
Salcedo Market - Viands
There's a staggering array of prepared food available (uh, I bought a samosa, hah) from several cuisines (notably Spanish, Persian, Indian, Vietnamese, Singaporean, Thai, French), but of course the spread for Filipino food is most interesting. Quick run-down: Menudo (pork and liver, carrots and potatoes in tomato sauce), Ampalaya (bitter melon), Monggo (mung beans), Pork Adobo (pork stewed in garlic), Tokwa't Baboy (tofu and pork), Bopis (pig heart and lungs in tomatoes), Pork Giniling (ground pork with carrots and potatoes), Tortilla (ground pork cake in eggs-- hey, a pattern), Talong with Pork Bagoong (Eggplant stuffed with pork and shrimp paste), Ginataang Kalabasa (squash in coconut milk).
Salcedo Market - Viands 2
Plus: Baked Tahong (Mussels), Papaitan (some bitter stew I haven't tried), Laing (taro leaves in coconut milk), Adobong Kangkong (Water Spinach cooked in garlic), Sinigang sa Miso (sour soup with miso base), Bicol Express (pork and chilies in coconut milk), Tortang Talong (battered eggplant), Pinakbet (squash and string beans in shrimp paste), and Ukoy (vegetable fritters).
Salcedo Market - Grill
Skewered pork, fish, and squid, ready for the grill (er, again).
Salcedo Market - Lechong Baka
I dare any other Farmer's Market to produce a whole cow roasting on a spit!
Salcedo Market - Lechon de Leche
... Or a young pig, for that matter (but that's a lot easier).
Salcedo Market - French food
French food corner. I didn't try the guy's macarons.
Salcedo Market - Creperie
One of two (!!) creperies in the area. Also littered around are about 3 or 4 scooperies. Dessert-wise I wasn't too interested in the offerings-- some sugar-free and homemade stuff here and there. Not that they weren't great, but making my own desserts is a snap, plus I can blog about it.
Salcedo Market - Wooden Wares
Salcedo Market - Baskets
As usual, there are the locally-produced crafts. There's so much more I didn't take a picture of, such as the plant nursery (I bought dill, rosemary, and oregano) and the dairy stall (where you can get all the water buffalo products you could ever want).

Insalata Caprese from Jamie's Italy
Wow. This barely needs a recipe. But Jamie has an interesting way of making Caprese salad that may appeal to some of you.

  • 4 5-oz balls buffalo mozzarella (obviously I just bought what I could afford and winged it)

  • 2 handfuls of good mixed ripe tomatoes of different shapes and sizes

  • the white part of 1 spring onion, very finely sliced (I omitted this, as I forgot it)

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • good-quality herb vinegar (I didn't have any, so I used balsamic... good for counteracting the acidity of my unripe tomatoes at least)

  • big handful of fresh basil leaves

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the basil and pound with a good pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. As I didn't want to make too dark a dressing, I opted to very finely mince the basil. Add a splash of oil and stir.

Tear the mozzarella onto a large serving plate. Chop the tomatoes roughly and dress in a bowl with the spring onion, some olive oil, herb vinegar, and salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes in and around the mozzarella and drizzle the dressing over. Sprinkle with some more basil leaves (I used oregano here) and serve.

This is my entry to Weekend Wokking, this month hosted by DP of Blazing Hot Wok. Do check out the round-up in a few days!

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