This post comes to us courtesy of writer and Williams-Sonoma creative consultant Laura Martin Bacon.
Some folks say tomato. Others say tomahto. But no matter how we pronounce it, none of us wants to say goodbye to the sun-warmed tomatoes of summer.
Here in California, farmers’ market stalls are still colored with the bounty of late-season tomatoes. My little buddy Paul tells me that you can get some great ones in Florida, too. In fact, he got so inspired by their extravagant sweetness that he convinced his grandmother Suzanne to bake their now-classic tomato cake with him.
Okay, great, you say. But what about those of us in parts of the country where the only vibrant reds in the landscape are coming from falling leaves? How do we bring back the sweet, ripe tomatoes of summer?
Well, start by checking out this video below (I guarantee it will solve a few botanical mysteries – and put you in a happy, tomato-y mood).
Then consider these suggestions for less-than-summer-stellar tomatoes :
Go natural. Choose tomatoes that actually smell like tomatoes. And if you can, try to select ones that still have a bit of the leaves or stems attached. To naturally enhance the flavors of underripe tomatoes, try cutting them into wedges, sprinkling with kosher salt and draining in a colander for about half an hour.
Think small. The sweetest tomatoes are often the tiniest: when in doubt, go for cherry or grape tomatoes. Cutting larger tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and marinating them in a good vinaigrette is another super-easy way to boost flavor.
Turn up the heat. Just like the sun, the heat of your oven, stovetop or grill intensifies tomatoes’ sweet, sunny flavors. Cooking tomatoes also concentrates nutrients. Case in point: a simple tomato sauce or organic ketchup has more lycopene (a powerful antioxidant) than raw tomatoes.
Get creative. Fire up your culinary imagination (and your family’s nutrition) with fun tomato recipes. The flavors and textures of tomatoes are amazingly versatile – check out these recipes and see for yourself!
|Roasted Tomato Soup||Polenta with Sausages and Tomato-Olive Ragout|
|Garden-Style Eggplant Parmesan||Individual Deep-Dish Pizza|
|French Fries with Homemade Ketchup||Slow-Cooker Lasagna|
About the author: Laura is a longtime writer and creative consultant for Williams-Sonoma and other well-known entities. She’s also the Culinary Creative Director of DooF (“food” backwards), an organization that uses multi-media entertainment, education and live events to help kids and families discover the magic of food. DooF explores every aspect of food – from flavors, history, science and cultural traditions to the exciting journey from source-to-table. Laura’s mission: to make good food fun – at home, in the classroom and beyond.