I went through a phase when I was a kid when all I wanted for lunch was a sliced tomato on white bread. A little butter, okay...although I freaked out if the butter was hard and tore at the bread. Freaking freaked out. And okay to a little salt and pepper. That was my lunch. Day in. Day out. With a glass of milk.
And that's what I had yesterday. And today. And will do until the basket of tomatoes in the kitchen is gone.
That said, we're off on a family adventure tomorrow to St. Jacobs Farmers' Market to buy a bushel of tomatoes. Because I'm tired of the canned thing and would rather can my own, thank you very much.
I had the dust kicked off my canning butt a few weeks ago thanks to my friend Cheryl who had us up to her farm to make her mother's recipe for dill pickles. My jars are so pretty I can't actually put them away, so they're sitting on my kitchen counter...waiting...until Thanksgiving to be opened!
But Cheryl inspired me to get a canner, a jar lifter, a funnel and a dozen one litre jars. Tomatoes it is. Not sauce...tomatoes. Tomatoes that I can turn into anything through the long winter. Soup, pasta sauce, chili...whatever. We tend to make something out of a 28-oz. can every week, sometimes more. And frankly, I'm a bit irked by the concept of BPA lining our cans of food - and the more acidic the food, aka tomatoes, the likelier the BPA liner. In a world (say that with the movie trailer voice) where I'm trying to minimize the estrogen that enters my body for no reason, BPA is a persona non grata in my life.
I know most of you will already have your jams and preserves well under way and on the shelf. I don't praise myself as a planner, although I do praise myself as a late bloomer - because in the words of Sandra Shamas, at least I bloom. So this is new for me. Credit please. Thank you.
So on Saturday I was digging back into Genius Recipes, by Kristen Miglore - a fabulous cookbook from the fabulous Executive Editor of the even more fabulous Food52. And I stumbled on this, tucked in a corner on page 68.
A tomato recipe that was so simple, so elegant, it brought out the poetry of the gorgeous tomatoes we had. Kristen got the recipe from Marcella Hazan and quotes the incomparable Italian icon's facebook page about this recipe: "It has the potential to eclipse every other experience of tomatoes you may have had."
Così vero, Marcella. Così vero.
Garlic-Scented Tomato Salad
adapted by Kristen Miglore, from a recipe of Marcella Hazan's
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1-2 tsp salt
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 lbs ripe tomatoes
1 doz. torn fresh basil leaves
Steep the garlic in a bowl with the salt and vinegar for at least 20 minutes.
Slice tomatoes and lay out on a platter. Just before serving, sprinkle torn basil leaves over the tomatoes. Holding back the garlic, pour the vinegar over the tomatoes and then drizzle with your best olive oil. You can adjust the flavourings - maybe more salt? Or more vinegar? Should serve 4-6.
I cut up two huge tomatoes (about 1 lb.) and used the proportions above for the steeped vinegar. Two of us gobbled the whole plate down in one go.
Enjoy. While you can. And this weekend, I will can, while I can can. More to come...