There is really nothing that can compare to fresh garden grown tomatoes. In the winter, I'll gladly pass on the hothouse and plum variety. The flavor is not much different than gnawing on a piece of cardboard. But in the summer they are seriously irresistible. I have tried growing tomatoes in the past but inevitably they have fallen victim to many a bunny and for many years a large black Lab (who shall remain nameless) with a love for veggies right off the vine. Go figure. These days I leave the growing to the professionals. The tomatoes at my local farm are incredible right now. I love tomatoes in a grilled cheese sandwich, on a bagel with cream cheese or just by themselves with a sprinkle of salt. It's no secret that Italians love their tomatoes too. Here are my three favorite Italian tomato "recipes". Though calling the first two recipes is almost embarrassing because they are so easy.
Bruschetta - the word comes from the Latin bruscalare meaning to toast (or burn but you don't want to burn the bread). It follows the classic four ingredient rule so remember: Make those ingredient high quality. This is why bruschetta should only be eaten when tomatoes are in peak season. Do not add garlic to the tomato mixture. Instead, toast thick slices of bread on the grill and immediately when it comes off the heat, rub it lightly with a clove of garlic. Chop tomatoes, dress with salt and olive oil. Top bread with tomatoes and serve.
Caprese salad -
Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil. Along with the tomatoes, it is imperative that you find the best possible mozzarella. Buffalo mozzarella is the ultimate if you can find it. How you put it together is up to you: chopped and tossed, stacked, spread on a platter. A caprese salad, crusty bread and a glass of white wine is pretty close to a perfect dinner in my opinion.
Pappa al pomodoro
I would give anything for a good bowl of this on a cool early fall evening. Much like the ribollita that was featured on the blog earlier this year, pappa makes use of stale bread and turns it into a delicious traditional Tuscan dish. Here is a great recipe:
Get to the market, stock up on the tomatoes and soak up the last days of divine summer produce. Then say arrivederci to the pomodoro until next year.