Love Those Love Apples
Imagine what Eve might have accomplished with a juicy-ripe August tomato.
Tomatoes are the garden's crown but, unlike a royal princess, they needn't be beautiful. In fact, slices from a bulbous, misshapen tomato resemble a free-form painting. Arrange several on a solid color (black is beautiful) plate with mozzarella balls and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with a fruity, extra-virgin olive oil, grind black pepper over all.
Call it edible artistry.
Once a year, put aside nutritional admonitions against white bread and mayonnaise and indulge in the classic, inimitable tomato sandwich. The bread must be spongy and fine-grained. The mayo must be Hellmann's regular. The tomato must border overripe. Add only salt and pepper.
Julia Child, in a 2002 interview with Larry King, confessed her adoration for this exact combination, specifying Wonder Bread. King dubbed it the Julia Child Tomato Sandwich.
Second installment must be a BLT made with the same white bread, toasted, a thick tomato slice, iceberg lettuce, mayo and hot, very, crisp bacon.
A food almanac reports the average American shopper consumes at least 18 pounds of fresh tomatoes annually, more than any other vegetable (tomatoes are actually fruits, called "love apples" by the French) except potatoes and lettuce. The majority will be pale red cue balls grown in hothouses or far away, which makes the real thing taste even better -- in a variety of ways.
Fresh tomato sauce: Peel very ripe tomatoes by dropping in boiling water, lifting out, slipping off skins. Puree in blender with a slice of sweet onion, several garlic cloves and a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat through. Pour over pasta; top with shaved (use a vegetable peeler) Parmesan.
Sweet-Sour Tomato Salad: Bring 1 cup white vinegar and cup sugar to a boil. Stir until sugar melts. Slice tomatoes, a peeled garden cucumber and a sweet onion. Pour hot brine and freshly grated black pepper over vegetables. Refrigerate several hours.
Then, remember August in November with:
5 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
5 pounds sugar
3 small thin-skinned seedless oranges, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon powder
1 teaspoon cloves
Boil tomatoes and sugar for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add other ingredients and simmer, uncovered, until thick (about 220 degrees on candy thermometer). Pour into sterilized jars, filling to the top, and seal.
Tomato marmalade and cream cheese make a sensational sandwich, especially on a bagel. Julia Child would have loved it.
Contact Deborah Salomon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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