Friday, August 24, 2007
Ode to the Tomato
It's been tomato season for at least few weeks now, and as usual, I'm completely obsessed. I dream about this time of the year in darkest February, getting greedy and overbuying when I see the tumbling piles of Jersey tomatoes at McCarren Park on Saturdays. I can't even stomach the mealy, white, year-round supermarket tomato as anything close to a substitute in the off-season. But come high summer, I manage to work tomatoes into pretty much everything I eat for eight weeks, as is this writer in the Times.
To this list of recipes I'd add: tomato sandwiches on soft white bread with tons of mayo, sea salt and fresh pepper; fresh pasta with tomatoes, garlic, brie, and basil (only cooking the pasta); tomatoes stuffed with bread crumbs/tuna/herbs/garlic whathaveyou; tomatoes tucked under baked or poached eggs; spreading them with cheese/tapanade/greens/nuts/herbs before a quick pulse in the microwave; salsa; ceviche with mango and whitefish or scallops; and simplest and best of all, a caprese salad made of the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes you've ever seen from Sang Lee Produce.
Rapturous odes to just-picked summer corn, or peaches, or zucchini, or blueberries, run right alongside tomatoes in my brain, for eating doesn't get any more pleasureable than produce in season. I swoon over cooking in August with an constant overload of options and tastes. If there's ever a time to visit a farmer's market, these are the weeks to be going. All is luscious and ripe and juicy and flavorful. And perfectly amazing, when you realize no one can improve on nature.