One of my readers sent me a recipe for a tomato salad and gorgonzola and as you can see from the photos I made the salad twice. On both occasions I presented the salad as an antipasto.

The reader who sent me the recipe has just returned from a holiday to Italy; although she visited Sicily, she indicates that she ate this in northern Italy. And even if all of the other ingredients could easily be for a tomato salad from Sicily, gorgonzola is very much a northern Italian cheese. In fact it is a DOC cheese (Denominazione di Origine Controllata – Protected Designation of Origin) and produced in the provinces of cities you may recognize: Milan, Como, Pavia, Bergamo, Cremona and Novara and all of these cities are in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions. Only items produced in a specific area, in a particular way and of a certain specified size and shape may display that DOC label.

In my version of the salad I used gorgonzola dolce (means sweet) and it is one of my favourite cheeses – soft, creamy and slightly veined and spicy. Gorgonzola piccante (spicy) is the stronger tasting version of this cheese; it is more matured, has a greater degree of blue-veins and is firmer. I imagine that although both cheeses are suitable for this recipe, the mature gorgonzola would be easier to handle and could be ‘shaved’ as the recipe suggests.

I also did not use as much balsamic vinegar, the Sicilian in me screams “no vinegar with tomato”– it is sufficiently acidic. Also, it has to be good quality balsamic and if it is, only a little should suffice.

When I prepared it in my friends’ home, I did not use anchovies because they hate them (unfortunately).

I have named the salad after the ingredients INSALATA DI POMODORI E GORGONZOLA (and alla Giovanna, because this is the reader’s name). Thank you.

Here is her recipe:

3 large tomatoes, sliced
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shaved Gorgonzola cheese
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
1 Tablespoon green onions, sliced
1 clove minced garlic
2 anchovies minced to a paste
black pepper, freshly ground
fresh basil


Arrange tomatoes on a plate
Drizzle with vinegar and oil
Sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh ground pepper
Sprinkle with cheese, capers, onions, garlic, and anchovies
Garnish with basil leaves
In the first photo:
I used very large tomatoes from Geelong close to Melbourne (new crop).
In the second photo:
The tomatoes are small and from Murray Bridge in South Australia.
Heirloom tomatoes are not ready, not just yet.

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