Tomato Time Is Now

IMG_1.JPG

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:

IMG_3.JPG

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.)

13 comments

  1. Well I got you both beat. Mine aren’t from a farmers market, their from my backyard. When I need a tomatoe I just walk out by back door, and pick!

    But yes fresh grown, and picked are the best you can get! And those dishes look amazing.

  2. Mmmm, I love a good Caprese salad. I think I’ve eaten more than my share this summer, but maybe one more is in order before the good tomatoes disappear!

    Also, have you tried the smoked mozzarella from Joe’s? It’s a little strong for a Caprese salad, but you just might find yourself ripping off pieces and eating the entire thing on its own because it is just. that. good.

  3. Actually, I hate using the word “natch”–that was the first time I ever used it–and I didn’t enjoy it.

    *Laughing* Yeah, I hate that one too and have had to restrain myself from accidentally using it once or twice.

    And thanks for the reminder about using the tomato bounty. I’ll be sure to make some last of the season stuff in the next week.

    High kick!

  4. I love the high kick. please add more of that in future entries.

    Also, I’m reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and she suggests buying up a bunch of tomatoes and corn and various veggies from your farmers market while you still can and then freezing or canning them for use in the winter–they’ll still be local and delicious then! Obviously in new york kitchens we don’t have a lot of room for canning pantries or a lots of freezer space but i did take her advice and made a load of tomato sauce fresh from the market and froze it this weekend. I plan to do the same with some corn for the winter when I need a fix.

    and speaking of tomatoes… http://mousebouche.blogspot.com/2008/08/tomato-revelation.html

  5. Alas, my one trek to Joe’s Dairy was on a Sunday, not open. And then I had to fly home. Next trip.

    Tomatoes from our garden on multi-grain bread from the farmer’s market, sea salt, pepper and yes, Hellman’s. It’s good for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    My mother-in-law used to make her own ketchup and it was fabulous. We would hoard/ration our pints through the year. (and tomato juice and plain tomatoes)

    Thanks for bringing back some good memories.

    Great post as always, Adam.

  6. Well, Craig is right about the salad, natch.

    Sorry – had to experiment. It sounds a bit…too…Palin, doesn’t it. You betcha. (*wink*)

    I hope you stretched before all that high kicking. You wouldn’t want to strain something.

  7. If I had the mozzarella, I’d make me one of these right now! Except I’d put the whole of it in a baguette. Sorry, but I think it’s better.

  8. 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.

    i die. i almost fell out of my chair laughing.