Although the rest of the country has most likely harvested what tomatoes it could, they are just coming online here in Portland. This accounts for the abundance of tomato references on this blog.
It’s just that when Northwest tomatoes start coming, they keep coming! So what to do with all of those beautiful garden gems? At our house, we started by eating them simply sliced with a pinch of Salish Alderwood Smoked Salt. The play between the sweet citrus acidity and the deeper notes of smoke and salt make for a fine impromptu summer treat.
Soon after, we moved on to the classic Caprese Salads, another fast and easy summer meal. Although you can use just about any mozzarella cheese, try to splurge and go with the less rubbery, more buttery flavored Mozzarella di Bufala Campana for a real treat. After slicing and arranging the tomatoes and mozzarella, add fresh basil leaves, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar and pinch of coarse ground salt. Serve with a crusty piccolo como to mop up the tomato juice, vinegar and oil mixture and dinner’s ready.
The other obvious choice for tomatoes is one of my favorites, Pico de Gallo. To make this traditional salsa, you’ll need:
- 1 ½ – 2 lbs. of early girl tomatoes (diced)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 medium jalapeño (chopped with or without seeds – seeds make it hotter!)
- Juice of two fresh big limes
- 1 medium white onion (diced)
- ½ of head of cilantro (minced)
- Salt to taste
- A very secret ingredient
And to the people at Whole Foods Market, here are two ingredients that you do NOT need (¡no muy bueno!):
Start by adding the onions, garlic, jalapeños and onion to a large mixing bowl and toss. Next add the cilantro and tomatoes. Toss again. Add the lime juice last and again, toss.
After salting to taste (I go easy on the salt – it’s better to add more later) you can add the optional, sacrilegious ingredient (I hope my Mom’s not reading this) for a pop: a few drops of Huy Fong Foods’ ubiquitous Sriracha sauce.
Yes, you read it correctly. Our “authentic” pico has a slight Thai influence. Again, this is an optional ingredient but seriously, the chili, garlic and salt flavors blend quite well with the jalapeños and really makes the tomatoes and onions pop. Not much is needed, just a few drops for flavor but not so much as to overpower the salsa.
So there you have it. What are you doing with your tomatoes? Leave suggestions in the comments!
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