Tis a happy day, the day the first tomato ripens. We sit in the shade to share the first one like an apple: better one tomato than two, somehow, for this heady moment. The flesh is already warm from the morning sun, tomato juices run down our chins. We grin: summer has arrived! Soon we'll be doing all the things gardeners do with what will soon become a glut of tomatoes – a summer-only tomato soup, the Italian bread salad, even making homemade mayonnaise just for BLTs. But this very first tomato? It's always the best of the summer.
Once or twice a week for the rest of the tomato season, the evening meal will include either Marinated Tomatoes or a cousin salad with both cucumbers and tomatoes. It's hardly a "recipe" – call it a "concept" or better yet, just a reminder to revel in a summer tomato at least once this year.
RECIPE for MARINATED TOMATOES
Time to table: 1 hour
1/4 - 1/8 of a small onion, cut into thin slivers
1 pound ripe summer tomatoes
2 tablespoons good vinegar - white wine, red wine, sherry, rice, etc.
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Fresh herbs, snipped - chives, basil, mint, etc.
Salt & pepper to taste
Soak onion slivers in ice water while making the rest of the salad, this removes some of their sharpness. Drain the slivers on paper towels before adding to the salad.
Cut tomatoes into wedges, about six or eight wedges per tomato, drop into a bowl. Splash with vinegar and olive oil, sprinkle with sugar, fresh herbs and salt and pepper. Gently stir, just a bit, you don't want to mash the delicate tomatoes. Let rest for about 45 minutes, gently stirring every 15 minutes, adding the onion slivers during one of the first stirs. Serve and do enjoy, this is summer food at its very best!
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
A mix of tomato colors makes for something extra-pretty!
The tomatoes get too soft and mushy if marinated for more than an hour. For a good make-ahead Marinated Tomatoes, use good cherry tomatoes – you'll want ones from a CSA or farmers market, grocery store cherry and grape tomatoes have a welcome place in the kitchen but just aren't ripe enough or tender enough or tasty enough for this salad.
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KEEP IT SIMPLE: FAVORITE EASY-EASY RECIPES FOR GOOD SUMMER TOMATOES~ Never Take a Good Tomato for Granted:
Twelve Favorite Tomato Recipes ~
~ Old Liz's Old-Fashioned Cucumber & Tomato Salad ~
~ Tomato Platter with Olives & Feta ~
~ Fresh Tomato Sauce ~
~ more tomato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella for a Crowd ~
~ Summer’s Tomato Soup ~
~ Homemade Mayonnaise for BLTs ~
~ more tomato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
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