The kind of tomatoes we wait all year for: just cut up in big chunks in a bowl, with a pressed clove of garlic, a whole lot of torn basil, a pinch of sea salt.
(Some people doll them up: a splash of balsamic vinegar, say, some good extra virgin olive oil, or a little minced green chile for heat. Okay, fine. But me? Not here. Not now. Not the first full flush of summer tomatoes. No need for fancying them up, not yet, any more than there is need to cook them. Check in with me again in the fall.)
So. Let that bowl of tomatoes, basil, garlic and sea salt sit at room temperature for a couple of hours.
Then spoon this combination, as is, at room temp, over almost anything savory.
Tonight, for #dinnerwithdragonwagon, over wholewheat pasta, with half-rounds of seared yellow & green zucchini slices, edamame, a sprinkle of crumbled local feta, a few kalamata olives…
Tomorrow morning, chopped more finely, maybe in an omelette along with a bit of grated “seriously sharp” (as the Cabot Cheese people say) Vermont cheddar…
Tomorrow night, perhaps, when company’s due, as a starter, with some form of crunchy toast, or slices of grilled baguette, and a big pile of really good fresh local ricotta (a speciality, lately, of my friend, the actress, writer, and Fearless Writing alum Monica Clark-Robinson)… This combo should be eaten on a screened porch, with a glass of chilled Viognier…
Or again it could be part of dinner, this time perhaps over vegetable fritters, with a dollop of plain thick yogurt…
Or just spooned up out of the bowl and into the mouth of the cook. Or said cook might pour off some of the exquisite essence-y juice (drawn out by that bit of salt), and drizzle it on a piece of wholegrain toast, into which she then bit…
And she would be happy.
Now. If you had this in winter, with hothouse tomatoes flown in from across the country or another country altogether, tomatoes whose skins are bred to be tough to withstand travel, interiors cottony because they were picked before ripening and refrigerated, you’d think, enh, why bother, tomatoes and basil, what’s the big deal. Whenever I see the now-cliched tomato-basil-mozarella salad on a restaurant menu in February, I know it’s not a very good restaurant.
But summer tomatoes done this way : there it is. And these are just the Earlygirls! The dense, deeply colored, explosively flavored heirlooms, the Brandywines, the Green Zebras, the Black Krims, the Paul Robesons… these and many more are still to come!
But even so.
So simple. A classic.
Summer tomatoes never fail to make me feel grateful that I’m alive for another trip around the globe. Grateful for another summertime.
C aroline says
Summer tomatoes are the ONLY tomatoes for this California Girl. Am about to “fry” some Polenta rounds to be able to top with the rainbow tomatoes picked yesterday.
Crescent Dragonwagon says
Oh yes yes yes. Polenta rounds! Perfect!