Aug 18, 2020
When I walked through he farmers’ market last weekend and saw the first of this year’s crops, I literally let out a scream! Flavorful, succulent, gorgeous, perfectly ripe tomatoes are finally here! Yup folks, it’s summer! This is the time when they are so darn delicious, all you need is a dash of salt or if you want to get fancy, slow roast them with fruity olive oil and herbs to concentrate their unctuous flavor.
Tomatoes are a bit tricky, however, and I’ve learned a few tips over the years. First, at the age of six, my mom said to me “Remember that when you’re eating fresh tomatoes, always add a pinch of salt…it brings out the sweetness and acidity.” With my mom, she preached it like it was gospel. I know I looked at her funny then, but trust me, I’m thanking her now.
Next, if you want a good ripe tomato, they MUST be in season. It’s tempting to grab that bright red cluster in December, but it will never be the same as the tomatoes harvested locally during the peak of summer. Look for plump, smooth-skinned, heavy tomatoes that have a little give and an earthy aroma.
And to store your tomatoes, take the advice of my friend and food scientist extraordinaire, Harold McGee, who says, “Temperatures below about 55ºF disrupt cell membranes in the fruit…A chilled tomato becomes mealy and tasteless….store tomatoes in an out-of-the-way spot that remains cool, but never falls below 55 degrees.”
I like to store tomatoes on the counter but always remember, shoulders up!
Okay, enough talk, let’s cook! Here are some of my all-time favorite tomato recipes for you to try:
- Broiled Tomatoes with Sicilian Pesto
- Crab Tomato Chowder
- Crostini Rossi
- Farmer’s Market Summer Tomato Salad
- Crunchy Cornmeal and Tomato Galette
- Strip Steak with Charred Tomatoes