Monthly Archives: August 2010

Tomatoes

Recently, a friend of mine looked on, amused, as I sliced open a Cherokee purple tomato, salted it, and ate it. “I didn’t know you could eat tomatoes raw,” she said.

I’m not sure what we’ve come to when a person, who lives in a country so conducive to growing delicious and plump tomatoes, has not luxuriated in the taste of one plain. It’s true that until the fairly recent trendiness of farmer’s markets, all that was available were the rubbery outside, foam-like inside versions of the fruit….or vegetable, and I certainly wouldn’t want to digest one of those either. Now however, even at most grocery store chains, there are sections of locally grown produce.

What I really love most about heirloom tomatoes is their beaten up appearance. They’re old varieties and world travelers and I think their gnarled, bumpy appearance shows it off. In combination with the distinct flavor, there’s no replacing them with the store kind. I’m not normally one to be pretentious about the whole buying organic thing. I understand it’s incredibly expensive and not everyone has the time to shop on a separate day for their produce, but I do have to say, it’s worth it in August.

August is THE month for perfect tomatoes. Some varieties like Early Girl become available as soon as late spring, and most vines start producing in July, but in my opinion, the most lucrative month is August. Although it’s the last day of the month, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to cast a stage light on one of my favorite summer foods.

Easy Summer Tomato Salad

  • 2 cups halved cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Half cup chopped basil
  • ¼ to ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (do NOT use the stuff in the green container. I tried it once as a substitute and it was horrible.)
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2tbsp fresh pepper

For Easy Bruscheta:

Slice pieces of a dense bread like fococcia or ciabatta, drizzle olive oil over top of them, put the tomato salad on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or so at 415 degrees. If you have access to it, putting chopped purple basil on top afterwards is a really beautiful and tasty garnish. So is reduced balsamic vinegar.

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