By Lori Powell
Finally… since it is a bit cooler up here in the Hudson Valley, tomato season has just arrived and with a flourish. Last year all of my carefully planted and tended plants turned black and were subject to the tomato blight. Sadly, no tomatoes. But this year is making up for it.
Every day I have a basketful of new shapes and colors. And every day there is the struggle to get out there and pick them before the rest of the animal population does.
Unfortunately, the animals love the heirloom ones as much as I do. So alas, they are the first to hit the ground with only half of each tomato consumed….I wonder…do they get bored, full or just want to heckle me!! So sad.
So what to do with all my tomatoes? Make friends and drop off tomato-filled sacks to your favorite neighbors or perhaps to people who have helped you out during the past year.
I have some elderly friends who do not have a vegetable garden and who are on a tight budget (who isn’t?) so it is always a pleasure to see their eyes light up when I drop off my bounty of tomatoes. Does more for me than for my neighbors.
My gift to you is a couple of recipes that, I hope, will appeal to you during this abundant summer of tomato jewels. No cooking required.
Some notes to keep in mind: heirloom varieties are best eaten raw to experience their depth of flavor, so, for the super simple try the following:
Heirloom Tomato Salad
1 ½ pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons good-quality extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic glaze (available at your local grocery store)
½ teaspoon flaked sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Parmesan cheese shavings (made with a vegetable peeler)
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
1. Arrange tomatoes, overlapping them slightly on a platter.
2. Drizzle with oil and balsamic glaze; then sprinkle with remaining ingredients.
3. Serve at room temperature.
Heirloom Tomato Salsa
1 pound vine-ripened large tomatoes (about 3), stemmed and chopped
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped seeded cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 small garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with ¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 fresh jalapeño chile, chopped fine (wear rubber gloves)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar, or to taste
1. Toss together all ingredients in a serving bowl.
2. Serve with blue corn chips
Note: add some chopped avocado for a flavor twist.
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