Tis Tomato Time. What is the first thing you think of? Yep, Caprese Salad. But just simple Caprese Salad. No balsamic, no onions, no capers, no bread on the plate. Great in season tomatoes, Heirlooms, different colors and shapes. Best mozzarella. Torn basil. Olive oil. Flaky sea salt (Maldon if you can find it) and pepper to taste. Period. Cut tomatoes into rounds, quarters, slices–vary the shape, they look beautiful on the plate. Then take the mozzarella and tear it into pieces, don’t cut it. Next, olive oil to taste. Scatter torn basil pieces over top. Finally, add the sea salt and pepper to taste. Too hot to cook? Make the salad bigger and serve for dinner, maybe with some fresh bread on the side and a plate of prosciutto and cheese. In any case, don’t forget the wine.

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I am sure that everyone reading this has a favorite chicken wing recipe. Add Frank’s Hot Sauce. Add Blue Cheese. Add any number of Asian blends. This recipe is my hands down favorite and is adapted from the way they are offered at Ocean’s Grille in Fort Lauderdale owned and operated by my friend Joe Israel. I serve these for spur of the moment weeknight dinner parties accompanied by a refreshing salad and chilled white wine or Beaujolais or even something fizzy and my guests have devoured them. Ingredients? Simple. I plan on 10 pieces per person so multiply according to the size of your group–wings, juice of 3 limes, salt, pepper and arugula or something green for serving (in the photo below I used celery leaves). That’s it. Preheat oven to 400F (~~200C). While the oven is preheating, separate wings if not already done and line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and parchment paper. The parchment prevents the wings from sticking as they cook, the tin foil aids in easy cleanup because you don’t want to be scrubbing a pan when you could be eating and drinking. Roast wings about 15-20 minutes a side until really crispy. At Ocean’s Grille, they are baked and then deep fried, I skip that step. While wings are roasting, juice your limes and add salt and pepper to taste to the juice. When wings are done to your satisfaction, toss them with the lime juice mixture. Find a pretty platter, scatter the arugula or whatever greens you have chosen and plop the wings on top with the lime dressing. That’s all there is. If you want to stray off the path a bit, you can change up the juice for either lemon or even orange, it is a matter of preference or what you are in the mood for. And at the end of the day, if you still miss your Frank’s or Asian spices, have at it. It’s all good.

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