Friday, July 17, 2009
Waiting For The Tide Of Big Summer Tomatoes
My mom and I went to the farmer's market near my house recently and were tempted by many things: crisp, tiny cucumbers, loaves of fresh, crusted bread, a rainbow of beets and berries, and of course an onslaught of tomatoes. I think I've mentioned before how much I love summer tomatoes, haven't I? Anyway, considering it's July and tomatoes are everywhere at the market, one could easily conclude that the time has come for me to gorge on them to the point of crippling stomach pain (ok, that only happened once. ONCE!) But patience, my friends.
It will be weeks before a bite of big, juicy tomato is worth the $10-a-pound price you'll pay if you're a good little eater and only buy your produce from the farmer's market. They charge a lot for their goods, but I think they are right to do so. Being a farmer is really hard work. I asked one (who'd sold me some beets after a spirited discussion about goat cheese and mint) what a typical day was like and he said he gets up at 5 am to "survey the fields." His hands were coarse and tan and I'm pretty sure he could tell that dirt is not so much my scene. Another farmer--or fisherman, rather--sold us some beautiful clams that day. He had fish, too, and one of them was labeled "Dressed Flounder." My mom asked what that meant and he quipped: "It means it's been cleaned. Not that it's wearing clothes." We felt dumb and slinked away.
Anyhow, this is all to say that I love farmers and shopping at farmer's markets, but I'm holding off on buying big tomatoes for now. They're not at their best yet. Trust me. The little cherry ones are ready to go, but I'm talking about the beefsteaks. The heirlooms. These need more time before they're ready to slice or chop and serve raw in salads, sandwiches, or just with salt on a plate. So give it some time, and if you need a fix, try this recipe from the Muir Glen tomato people. Their yummy bruschetta has been tiding me (and my mother and siblings) over for the past several weeks, and I'm sure I'll make it again before September, which is when it'll be time to seriously talk summer tomatoes.
Tomato-Olive Bruschetta With Goat Cheese
Makes 24 appetizers
1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen Fire-Roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
1/4 cup coarsely chopped drained roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup soft goat cheese (4 oz)
24 slices (1/2 inch thick) baguette (about 8 oz), toasted
In medium bowl, mix tomatoes, olives, roasted peppers, basil, and oil.
Spread goat cheese onto toasted baguette slices. Top with tomato mixture. Serve immediately.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Muir Glen
Posted by Catherine