“Too many tomatoes!” We’ve all heard this lament—especially after a
long, hot summer.
But as far as I’m concerned, there’s no such thing as
too much of this luscious, late-summer vegetable (which is botanically a
fruit!), whether you grow them in your own garden or buy them from the
local farm market.
According to aficionados, the biggest mistake people make is to
refrigerate tomatoes. This compromises their flavor and gives them a
mealier texture. Better to buy what is needed for the near term and
simply store them on a countertop, away from direct sun.
When buying tomatoes, generally you’d want fairly firm, smooth ones
that feel heavy for their size. But in late summer, when you might want
to use them for cold soups or sauces, don’t hesitate to go for softer,
squishier tomatoes, but do use them right away.
Tomatoes and tomato products are so commonplace that we sometimes
fail to acknowledge them as the nutritional powerhouses that they are.
One medium tomato can provide the following Daily Values: 40% Vitamin C,
20% of Vitamin A (converted by the body from Beta Carotene) and 10% of
Potassium. Tomatoes are also the richest sources of lycopene, an
antioxidant that has been found to produce numerous health benefits,
including protection from certain cancers.
The best reason to enjoy tomatoes in late summer is for their
incomparable flavors and their versatility in the kitchen. Enjoy them by
the bushel while you still can.
FRESH SUMMER TOMATO SAUCE
Makes enough for 1 pound pasta, about 6 servings
The lush tomatoes of late summer can hardly be put to better use.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 pounds very ripe, fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup oil-cured sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano,
or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons capers, or 1/4 cup chopped
green olives, optional
Hot or warm cooked pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and
onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden.
In a food processor, combine the garlic-onion mixture with the remaining
oil, tomatoes, dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, lemon juice, and optional
capers. Process, pulsing on and off, until the mixture is coarsely and
evenly chopped, but not pureed.
Toss with hot or cold pasta, season to taste with salt and pepper, and
Recipe adapted from “Pasta East to West” by Nava Atlas.
By Nava Atlas, author of The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet. Copyright (c) Nava Atlas. Reprinted by permisison of Nava Atlas.
By Nava Atlas, author of The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet.