Summertime on a Plate

We are in the height of tomato season.  These nightshades, with so many flavors, colors, and sizes, can now be found at your neighborhood market, often grown locally.  Even better, seek them out at a farm stand, farmer’s market, or, if you are lucky enough, plucked from your own garden.

Unlike many of our friends, we’re having the good fortune of harvesting a bumper crop of this summertime goodness.  Jon has already roasted four large pans filled to the brim with a variety of tomatoes.  To the roasting pan he added onions, garlic cloves, fresh thyme, oregano, winter savory, and rosemary.

It all went into a convection oven at 375º F for about two hours.  Then everything was run through a food mill, put back in the pan, and continued roasting at 200º F until it reduced to the desired consistency of tomato paste.

If you don’t want to heat up your kitchen, now’s the time to grab your cutting board and tomato knife.  Within five minutes, you can make yourself a tomato salad which is as easy as it is delicious.  The key to the salad is to gild these big boys and yellow pears with a drizzle of really tasty extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle it all with a course fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper.  This is all that is needed to do the trick.  With so few ingredients involved, seek out only the best.

You could also tuck in a couple of wedges of cheese.  On my plate, I enjoyed a Saint Pete’s Blue and a vodka-soaked, nettle-wrapped sheep’s milk cheese from LoveTree Farms.

No excuses about not having the time, as preparing this salad takes practically no time at all.  The tomato paste, on the other hand, takes a little more time, though most of it is unattended.  However, it’s well worth it, come autumn, when you’re making pasta or lasagna.

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