It’s summer! Summer = Tomatoes, right? I’m one of those people who loathed the taste and texture of tomatoes as a kid (excluding ketchup and the jars of Ragu my mom served, natch). As an adult, I started liking tomatoes and over time, even loving them in some preparations. I don't normally seek out tomato recipes specifically (unless they're written by Paul Bertolli, because his tomato recipes should be considered scripture). Occasionally, something all about the tomato will catch my eye, however. The New York Times posted a few inspiring tomato recipes this week in an article entitled, “Never Say No To A tomato Vine”, and I had to give ‘em a test drive.
Fortunately, Seattle summers are extremely hot and tomatoes are very easy to grow here. I stepped outside into the blistering sun and plucked a few precious heirloom gems off of my huge tomato vines, which were straining under the weight of their tremendous bounty.
I’m full of shit. Our summer, with a notable handful of days where the temperature got into the 90s, has sucked. Again. I could no more grow a crop of tomatoes than I could make a prize-winning cake or be a contestant on the Bachelorette (unless I was auditioning for the lead, of course). Fortunately, we have some great grocery stores who manage to pull in some beautiful product.
Here’s the dirt on the two recipes I selected: They’re not fussy. They’re not complicated. The tonnato isn’t beautiful, because my meager skills have a hard time making a tuna sauce (think classic italian Vitello Tonnato, minus the veal) look extremely appealing. I’m still posting the recipes, because both were absolutely delicious and would be the perfect light summery al fresco supper (if we ever get any summer). David liked the fig and tomato salad—I absolutely loved it. I liked the tomato tonnato—He absolutely loved it.
So give ‘em a go, and let us know which one you liked most. And if it’s not too much trouble, can you send us some summer?
TOTAL TIME : 15 minutes
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 three-ounce can imported tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons drained capers
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets, optional
1 fat garlic clove, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons tightly packed basil leaves, more for garnish
2 pounds mixed tomatoes, large ones cut in slices, small ones cut in wedges
Coarse sea salt
Crusty bread, for serving.
- In a blender, combine olive oil, tuna, mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic and 2 tablespoons basil and purée until creamy.
- Lay tomatoes out on a platter and spoon sauce over the tops. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper and garnish with basil leaves. Serve with bread.
YIELD: 6 to 8 servings.
Originally published with Never Say ‘No’ to a Tomato Vine, By MELISSA CLARK, August 3, 2012
Tomato, Fresh Fig and Blue Cheese Salad
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, about 8 ounces, thinly sliced
1/2 pound fresh figs, cut into quarters
1 ounce crumbled blue cheese, like Fourme d’Ambert, more to taste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and salt. Whisk in oil.
- In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast pine nuts, shaking the pan occasionally, until light golden, about 2 minutes.
- Spread tomato slices on a large plate. Scatter fig quarters and pine nuts over tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and thyme, drizzle with dressing and finish with pepper.
YIELD: 4 servings.
Originally published with Never Say ‘No’ to a Tomato Vine
By MELISSA CLARK, August 3, 2012