This is the simplest, but most flavorful, dish you will ever serve. The trick is to use a really great, tasty, ripe tomato. Be picky or else this starter/salad/side dish will taste as flat as a stale cola!
We were served this as an antipasto when visiting the restaurant on the small island of Sala Comacina in Lake Como. The restaurant is named Locanda dell’isola Comacina. It is a prix fixe place with your meal consisting of what is fresh and in season. It includes wine and a coffee/brandy drink that is part of a closing ceremony conducted by the owner of the restaurant.
All you need to make this little bite is:
A really great tomato. One tomato served two people. Look for ripe tomato about 2 1/2 to 3” in diameter. Washed.
A ripe lemon, washed with peel intact.
Extra virgin olive oil
Oregano, fresh or dried
Cut the clean tomato(es) in half around the middle. Cut the ends off each half so that the tomato sits evenly on a plate. Put each half on a separate salad plate.
Now slice the lemon in half. With one half, make the thinnest slice possible trying to make the width 1/32” thick. Oddly, this is not as difficult as it sounds! You could try a mandolin, but I thought it might rip of the lemon apart. If there are any seeds, remove them. You need one thin slice of lemon per tomato half. Place the slice of lemon on top of the tomato.
Now drizzle each serving with a tablespoon of olive oil. Follow that with a dash of salt. In the middle of the lemon, put a half teaspoon of dried oregano or a teaspoon of fresh oregano.
When you eat this creation, you will eat a piece of the lemon (peel, pith and all) with a bite of the tomato.
Of all of the great tasting food I had while on an Italian vacation, this was my favorite bite! Since I love ice cream (and we ate lots of gelato), hopefully that conveys how wonderful this tastes! The key is a great tasting tomato!
Bonus Information: What is a prix fixe? Prix fixe is French for fixed price. When a diner is offered a prix fixe menu, it means the restaurant offers a complete meal at a set price. Sometimes the customer may choose between options, such as a chicken or fish entrée, however many times it is a set menu.