Most of us can happily eat supermarket cabbages or broccoli, are ecstatic with farmer's market green beans and zucchini, and are thrilled to see a local pick-up truck selling just picked (that morning) sweet corn.
Tomatoes are different.
Most of us will agree that we shun supermarket tomatoes, will eat farmer's market tomatoes, are happy with local, off the pick-up truck tomatoes, but nothing can compare to the tomato that is picked, perfectly ripe, from our very own plant, sliced and eaten, still warm from the sun.
Like anything we plant in our gardens, though, at some point we may get too much of a good thing.
We've eaten sliced tomatoes 3 times a day, every day for a month, the freezer is full, and we've canned all we can.
One can throw a perfectly good zucchini on the compost but a tomato!?!?!
I think not!
We can always make soup – like this Fresh Tomato Garlic Soup:
Or do a simple Baked Tomato as a side dish:
My favorite pizza is only possible this time of year: Pizza Margherida with Fresh Tomato and Basil.
But, one of my favorite uses for lots of fresh tomatoes is this simple sauce:
the tomatoes in half. Cup half of a tomato in your hand and rub it on
the big holes of a box (or other style) grater until all that is left in
your hand is the skin. You'll have to press a bit, but not too hard,
be careful not to grate your hand. Repeat with as many halves as you
think you want/need. You end up with fresh tomato sauce with no
skin…and no cooking!
Now that you have the sauce you can used it in anything you would use a cooked sauce. It tastes fresh, even when heated. I've added it to sautéed eggplant
(aubergine), tossed it with roasted green beans, drizzled it over
mozzarella slices, brushed it on bruschetta, added a bit to cold
soups…. I use it in both hot and cold pasta dishes, as well as late-summer lasagne.
Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
1 cup dried pasta, farfalle
2 – 3 fresh garden tomatoes
2 – 3 tbs fresh basil, large leaves torn or snipped
pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse briefly with
cold water. Shake well to get rid of as much water as possible. Depending on size of
tomatoes you will want to do 2 or 3. Toss with cooked, cooled pasta,
basil and serve. If they're not garden ripened, flavorful tomatoes you
might have to add some Balsamic vinegar and olive oil…but that defeats
the idea, doesn't it?
If you really want to put some effort into this dish you could add a few shavings of Parmesan.
And, just so you know: No, one cannot have too many tomatoes!