Guys. I love tomatoes. A lot.
This time of year I basically boycott any meal that does not include tomatoes. So I am going to indulge myself and write a series of blog posts purely about tomatoes. I will start with one of my favorite tomato recipe (if you can call it a recipe) and how to treat your tomatoes with the respect that they deserve.
How to keep tomatoes
My heart breaks a little every time I see a beautiful tomato in the refrigerator. Here's the deal: according to the USDA's agricultural research service, keeping tomatoes at a temperature lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (the average fridge is about 35 degrees) results in measurably lower aroma volatiles. These aroma volatiles are primarily responsible for our sense of taste, so when we refrigerate tomatoes we are inadvertently making them lose flavor.
Refrigerating tomatoes also damages the cell membranes, which leads to the tomatoes having a mealy texture, similar to what we see in tomatoes at the grocery store in January.
When it is okay to refrigerate tomatoes
I won't lie: sometimes I get a little overzealous with my tomato purchases. If I am not able to eat tomatoes while they are ripe, I do refrigerate them, but the key is that after that point I won't eat them fresh. Later this week I will post a delicious recipe for spaghetti with roasted tomatoes that is my go to whenever I want to use refrigerated tomatoes.
The simplest, easiest and most delicious tomato 'salad'
Can you really call something a recipe when its only ingredients are tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper? That is all that is required here. Just take some fresh tomatoes - local are usually best and freshest - heirlooms from your local farmers market, Jersey tomatoes or delicious pink Quebec tomatoes. Slice them (see above), drizzle with a nice olive oil, and add ground pepper and coarse salt. This takes about 2 minutes to make and is a perfect side dish for any summer meal. Of course you can always add basil or chopped red onion or fresh mozzarella cheese, all of which will be tasty, but you don't need to.
Coming up soon:
The best tomato sandwich
Spaghetti with roasted tomatoes
Tomato and grilled corn salad