Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Last Time I Checked, It Was April, Not August
If you live on the East Coast, you're likely sporting bare arms and possibly even sunscreen today. It's going to be 90 degrees this afternoon here in DC. Most people love this kind of early summer weather--I happen to hate it. My allergies make me feel crazy, my sandal selection hasn't been updated, and oh yes, this weather is a total tomato tease.
That's right. You heard me. It's hot enough to be August and I'm craving fresh tomatoes.
But the fact is, it's April, and no matter how many flip-flopped walkers I see on the streets today and no matter how many people invite me to have margaritas outside, that fact will not change. There are no good tomatoes to be had in April. This is asparagus and fava bean time, and baby lettuce and rhubarb time. Those are all perfectly good foods for spring but today feels like summer and I've got tomatoes on the brain, dangit!
Mercifully, Muir Glen Organic exists. This is my go-to tomato nine months of the year. While obviously not fresh off the vine, Muir Glen tomatoes have a firm texture and bright taste. I prefer the classic diced variety, but they offer fire-roasted and herb-laced kinds, too. My friend Katherine and I used a can of these babies recently to make Pappa Al Pomodoro, a chunky Italian soup that traditionally calls for fresh tomatoes. Our out-of-the-can version was pretty rockin', though, and I think you should give it a try. And yes, I realize that soup isn't really "hot weather food," but since the air conditioning is blasting you might as well just go for it.
Katherine and Catherine's (Canned) Tomato Bread Soup
Serves two or three
One large shallot, minced
Two garlic cloves, minced
One 28-ounce can Muir Glen Organic diced tomatoes
One small loaf stale Italian bread, cubed (about four cups)
Fresh basil (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, saute shallot and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about four minutes. Add tomatoes and bread and stir until everything is combined. If mixture seems dry, add a little water and about a teaspoon of tomato paste. The soup should be mushy and thick--not thin and runny. Cook over medium-low heat for about ten minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to throw in some hot red pepper flakes if you like a little heat. Stir in fresh basil (which ok, is also a summertime food but you can buy it pretty much any time of year, and I do). Ladle soup into bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.
Posted by Catherine