Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too Many Tomatoes?

There's a saying that's been repeated over the years: You can never be too rich or too thin.

I beg to disagree with both, quite frankly, and offer my own version of the saying: You can never have too many tomatoes.

It is, after all, August, when the tomatoes bow down their sturdy green stalks in weighty abundance, when the tables at the farmers' market blush under the collective glow of Early Girls and Romas and Amish Pastes and a host of other varieties, and when desperate gardeners start off-loading their surplus fruit, finding it far more welcome on most doorsteps than their gigantic surplus zucchini.

And while I still have a platter full of tomatoes to process into pasta sauce (yet this evening, I hope), I gladly accepted a bag of heirloom varieties from the Archivist this morning to relieve her of some of the tomato glut swamping her garden.

Along with a handful of golden pear tomatoes, she gave me a huge Pink Cherokee, an equally oversized Cherokee (the knobbly yellow one), a plump Sun Gold, and a mysteriously dark Black Krim. I was particularly excited about the Black Krim as I had hoped to grow some myself two years ago but had no luck when the plant I had ordered arrived damaged.

What to do with this bounty? For these tomatoes, unlike the rest I've been collecting, are destined for eating soon, not for canning.

I decided to cut up the Pink Cherokee to add to a Greek-style salad for a picnic lunch tomorrow. I tossed it with steamed green beans, chopped cucumbers, feta cheese, a chiffonade of fresh basil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

As for the Black Krim, I sliced it open.

I arranged the slices on a plate, topped them with feta cheese and more basil, and drizzled more balsamic vinegar on top for a variant of insalata caprese.

Really, on a summer evening, it's hard to beat fresh tomatoes for dinner, especially when they're dressed up with good cheese and fresh herbs and just a hint of tang. It was all I needed, really, aside from a bit of peach sorbet bobbing in a glass of white wine.

Too many tomatoes? Oh, no. You just have to know what to do with them!


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