Thursday, September 28, 2006
For the Love of a Perfect Dry-Farmed Tomato
Ok folks, it's summer after all. Or rather, it was, just about a week ago. And one of my favorite summer delights is the tomato, in all its glory. Well for the last couple days, I've enjoyed more than just a little tomato glory thanks to my pal Jamie for bringing me the exquisite gift of a bag of dry-farmed tomatoes.
"What is this dry farmed tomato of which you speak?" you may be wondering and well, I'm wondering the same thing. As I understand it, the fruit or veggie is grown with less water, thereby intensifying the flavor. It sure did the trick for these tomatoes. I went so far as to exclaim to Jamie that I was pretty sure I had fallen in love with this tomato, and that it was the best bite of anything I had eaten all summer. Damn, I love Mother Nature! I love Jamie!
So first, I just sliced one and ate it straight up w/ a little salt and fresh ground pepper. Perfect! You haven't truly tasted a real tomato until you've tasted one of these little jewels straight up like that, just the way Nature intended. Bellisimo!
Then, I tossed up a tasty, spicy, salty pasta w/ Puttanesca sauce (hello Miss NoNo and Martha Scarborough, this "sauce of the whore" is for you guys. I hope you also enjoy the very saucy self-portrait at the top of this page ;). This sauce is so simple! And it goes like this:
Put the water on to boil & get your pasta ready. Come on now, I know you know how to make pasta.
While that's working, gently saute a couple cloves garlic in olive oil, then stir in a couple of finely chopped anchovies and swirl it around in the pan for a few minutes. Add about a tablespoon of rinsed capers, a tablespoon of kalamata olive tapanade, as much crushed red chili flakes as you like, and a good twist of fresh ground black pepper. Lastly, toss in a couple of those lovely diced dry-farmed tomatoes and stir over medium heat for just a few minutes to warm the tomatoes.
Toss with the drained pasta, add some freshly ground imported parmesan, serve with a glass of cabernet, and give thanks for this abundance. Oh yes, I am thankful!
But wait, there's more - why not throw a dinner party and impress your friends with this sweet, savory, salty appetizer?
Slice a baguette at a nice angle. Brush the crostini slices w/ olive oil and toast them to golden brown perfection in your toaster oven. Then, spread each slice w/ a little soft goat cheese, add a dollop of kalamata olive tapanade, and top with a thin slice of your little dry-farmed tomato friends. Add a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and just try not eat twelve of them. Go ahead, see if you can.
Awright folks, my gal pal Anita is visiting from Arizona, and we are headed to Monterey for a gluttonous weekend. I can't wait to report back about all of our adventures, culinary and otherwise!
So do stay tuned...