The time has come where a few perfect things merge: Tomatoes and Basil.
In the past, I have always grown 2-4 different tomotoes to test timing, texture and flavour ,and I have some favorites: Burpee’s Big Boy is consistently the tomato of choice – it is the tomato shippers wish we would forget about so that we would eat their souless, pink, gassed, flavorless tomatoes the rest of the year.
Then, there are a few more: Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter (individual fruits sold for $1 each back in the depression and the grower sold enough to pull from hard times – thus, their name…), and this year, I am trying Burpee’s Early Girl, Black Russion and Old German. For reasons for which I will wax poetic during the non-growing season, I prefer to grow heirlooms but sometimes mix in reliables too.
So far, my Early Girls have delivered a few orbs while I watch their neighbors slowing gain color.
I have not grown EGs before and they do not seem to get as large as the Better Boys, but have proven to be a little earlier. Their flavor is certainly fine enough – we are not to the foodie snob stage at this point – we are just too thrilled to have a tomato! I held one back from this evening’s meal in order to have a BLT tomorrow – even have homemade mayo for that occasion.
Tonight’s tomatos were made exactly as last night’s:
Pool a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a deep bowl, add thinnly sliced garlic bulb, season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cut several basil leaves (Genovese – the one of Pesto fame…), roll like a cigar and slice into chiffonade – sprinkle into EVOO dressing. Slice several room-temperatur tomotoes (REMEMBER: DO NOT put these tomotoes in the refridgerator – the cold temperature changes their cell wall and the result is a loss of precious flavor). Gently place in bowl along with either fresh Boccatini Mozzarella (not the shredded pizza topper in a bag) or freshly slivered Parmesan – use a vegetable peeler to a little wedge to get those cute curls.
Now, gently toss. Allow individual dinners to make their own decision about adding balsamic, white or red wine vinegar – I rarely need it. This is nice to serve with a Ciabatta slice to get all the juices or in a bowl with a spoon.