This bunch of bright red vine-ripened tomatoes caught my eye at a local shop the other day. I was looking for ox-heart tomatoes, but there were none to be had, so I opted for it’s glossier relative. With the warmer weather upon us, it’s the perfect time to have a tomato salad in the name of Weekend Herb Blogging.
Despite the rise in popularity of heirloom tomatoes such as Kumatos, Green Zebras and Ox-Hearts, the plain vine-ripened tomato that we are all familiar with, is still a thing of great taste and beauty. Although, I must confess.. I didn’t originally start out being such a fan of tomatoes.
When I was about 13, we lived next door to an Italian family. Their daughter Laura, was about my age, and she would come over often to swim with us. One day, she invited me over to her house after our swim for a snack. She showed me around her house and then led me to the kitchen. Unexpectedly, what she did was take a few tomatoes and cut them into thick slices with a serrated knife. Over these sliced tomatoes, she then sprinkled salt and pepper, and drizzled some olive oil, before placing the plate on the table, where she invited me to pull up a chair and eat with her. When I got home later that afternoon, someone in my family asked how the visit had gone, and I remember telling them that it went well, but puzzlingly, we had eaten “just tomatoes”.
Over the years, I have finally grown to understand and appreciate what a treat it is to have a fully ripe tomato. Unadorned, or dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette, a tomato is not “just” a tomato, but something that can remain so simple and yet be so pleasing to the palate. This salad comes from Liam Tomlin’s wonderful book, Season to Taste. Sweet fleshy vine-ripened tomatoes co-mingle with briney olives, sliced eschallots and sprigs of baby basil. A glimpse of summer as it should always be remembered.