Tomato Time Is Now

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Your biological clock may be ticking, but your gastronomical clock is practically stomping on the ground and demanding that you get thee to a farmer’s market to enjoy the last of this summer’s tomatoes.

It’s a truth that often goes unacknowledged that tomatoes are at their best not during the hot, sweaty days of summer but during the crisp, clear, brand new days of fall. I first learned this watching “Molto Mario” but now I’ve confirmed it by buying the brightest red tomatoes I’ve ever seen and serving them with varying accoutrements. The salad you see above, for example, features sliced tomatoes with basil, blue cheese, oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper, natch. Actually, I hate using the word “natch”–that was the first time I ever used it–and I didn’t enjoy it.

The other best way to serve the last of the summer tomatoes is a way best revealed in a story from last week.

Craig has said many funny things over the course of our relationship, but for some reason the thing that made me really burst out laughing was when, completely out of the blue, Craig pontificated, from the couch: “This really is the best time of year for a Caprese salad.”

Were tomatoes the subject conversation? No. Were there tomatoes anywhere in the vicinity? No. He just said that completely out of the blue and I still think it’s really funny. In fact, I sometimes repeat it back, in a really gay voice: “This really is the best time of year for a Caprese salad!” Then I do a high kick.

Yet, despite the randomness of his quote, Craig did have a point: it really IS the best time of year for a Caprese salad (high kick)! Here’s the one I made, again using fresh farmer’s market tomatoes (really try to get your tomatoes from a farmer’s market–it makes a huge difference), whole basil leaves, and sliced mozzarella from Joe’s Dairy which makes mozzarella that’ll blow your mind:

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The whole thing is drizzled with really good olive oil, salt and pepper, as to accentuate the natural beauty of the last of the tomatoes; vinegar, while contributing brightness, tends to obfuscate.

Now isn’t the time to obfuscate; now is the time to let your tomatoes sing! (High kick.)

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