This is another quintessential Ina recipe that took me forever to try. I think I may have neglected to make it so far because fresh tomatoes are in season for such a short time, and there are only so many things a person can make before the season ends and we’re back to cardboard-tasting tomatoes. I’ve never tried cardboard, but I can imagine.
This recipe, from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, didn’t excite us much, which is probably why it took me so long to get around to making it. But it was a pleasant surprise – in a big way. There’s nothing super exciting about the ingredients – the title gives them away as basil, tomatoes, and brown rice. Why not just make a caprese salad? But there is a champagne vinaigrette which makes it amazing. I use microwavable brown rice (freezer section – Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, some friends have even claimed to see it at Costco), which cut down considerably on the cooking time. I used sungold tomatoes from our CSA box. They are tiny, cherry-tomato-sized things, and they are sweet without being overpowering. We get a ton of them in the box every week in the late summer, and they seemed like a good choice so I wasn’t sacrificing some of the bigger ones.
This would be a great addition to a late summer picnic. The brown rice really stretches out the flavors of the tomatoes and basil, and the vinaigrette brightens everything up. I think this would be a nice change from the usual mayo-laden potato and pasta salads that appear at picnics and potlucks.