Friday, July 28, 2006

Homegrown Tomatoes

I love tomatoes. It was not always so - for years and years I dined on the industrial, winter grown, ubiquitous hothouse midwestern tomato, and so I hated tomatoes. The tomato you picked out of your gyro, the tomato you ignored in your Greek salad, the tomato better left off your burger.

When we moved to California, we began to eat the local tomato. We could walk three blocks to one of the four fresh produce markets near the house, and pick out whatever looked good. We began to eat more tomatoes.

At Paul K in San Francisco, Lauren and I split one of the most sublime tomato salads we have ever had, during one of the most perfect dinners we have ever enjoyed. I can't remember the entree, but I remember the salad. At Aquanox in Las Vegas, I had another phenomenal tomato salad at a restaurant better known for fish. I remember the wine, I remember the conversation, and I remember the perfect tomatoes. No recollection of the fish.

Last night I got to eat a tomato salad that was the equal of those two, and it was spiritually satisfying as well as delicious, because the tomatoes and basil came out of my garden. The red ones are pretty normal, but check out the black cherry! They're the sweetest cherry tomatoes ever, they look amazing, and they have a delicious, totally unique taste. Frankly, they make eating canned tomatoes the rest of the year worthwhile, because no "fresh" tomato you get in December is anything like these. All I had to do is stick them in the ground and keep them watered; it's so easy I have a hard time getting my mind around the fact that everybody is not doing this. I came to it pretty late; but nobody ever let me in on the secret: it's easy. You can do it in a planter if you don't have a yard. It costs $2 for a plant that yields tons of fruit. So why not do this? Next year, plant some tomatoes. They're fantastic and you feel good when you look at them, when you eat them, and when you give them to people. I can't recommend this enough.


Judy said...

Tomatoes are great, but I do like some varieties more than others. I am sucker for the grape tomatoes and even the romas. Vine ripe are great, and whatever I have in my pots on the back porch must be REALLY good because Tyler eats them before I can get to them!

lifeindaburbs said...

A perfect summer meal.
Grilled chicken breast, couscous and the killer caprese salad looks soooooooo good.
I've always been a big fan of your Villeroy & Boch.