Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ode to the Tomato

There is really nothing like a good tomato.

I learned at a young age that I loved tomatoes and that a good one can be hard to find.  We used to get farm stand tomatoes at a place up the road from our house, but it unfortunately became a Walgreens.  Until college the only respite I found from the mealy, unripe tomatoes at the grocery store was the introduction of the Ugly Ripe heirloom tomatoes to Publix Supermarkets.

Then I was introduced to farmer's market and slowly learned more about the pleasure and importance of getting your produce locally.  My tomato addiction then skyrocketed when we grew our own cherry tomatoes 2 summers ago in New England.  I can eat them like candy.

So imagine my excitement to learn that tomato season in St Croix starts in December and is now going full force.  We got the best of New England's growing season and then we move to the tropics and get to experience the deliciousness of tomato peak season again.

There are many ways that I like to eat tomatoes.  Cherry tomatoes straight from the Ziploc bag I bought them at the farm stand in, popped one after another into my mouth on the ride home.  This amazing Fresh Tomato Lasagna that has a bechemel sauce that is to die for.  Panzanella salad, a green salad, in pasta, with eggs. 

But my favorite way to eat a tomato is a way I also learned at a young age, from my dad.

A fresh ripe tomato is delicious just as is, sliced, sprinkled with salt and pepper.  I prefer to eat it straight from the cutting board with my hands, while still standing at the counter.  Completely satisfying as a mid afternoon snack or while cooking dinner.

In recent years I've started using sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  The small amount of spice brings out the sweetness of the beautifully ripe tomato perfectly. 

Below is a pictorial account of the Best Way to Eat a Ripe Tomato.

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