There are many things I love about summer. Rather than blather on about the long days, warm weather, and seeing the boys of summer perform ballpark heroics and occasionally get indicted for perjury and tax evasion, I offer a paean to that juicy and colorful summer treat, the heirloom tomato. Available in a dazzling array of over 200 varieties of color, size, flavor, and appearance, the king of tomatoes is truly the taste of summer.
Below is my Top 5 list of ways to enjoy heirloom tomatoes (would appreciate comments for other people’s favorites):
5. Bruschetta. Preferably made with high quality extra virgin olive oil and a ciabatta or similar rustic style loaf from a artisanal bakery (in the SF Bay Area, I like Grace Baking or Acme Bread Co.). Get the real skinny on Bay Area bread (do skinny and bread really go together?) at the San Francisco Bread Review.
4. Pappa al pomodoro. This tomato bread soup is an excellent way to use up the leftover bread from your bruschetta (it is one of several Tuscan dishes designed to make good use of bread after it has gone slightly stale). NYT article and recipe (subscription required).
3. Insalata Caprese. Salad of tomatoes, basil, and fresh
mozzarella cheese. Not to get all food
snobby, but the mozzarella di bufala campana imported from
2. Tomato soup. Sometimes you just want tomato-ey goodness
without even having to chew. I enjoyed
the specimen pictured here this weekend at Wild Goose in
And my favorite way to enjoy heirloom tomatoes…
1. Straight up! Sliced, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. This way the intense flavor of the tomato can truly be appreciated. So much food, so little time!