Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Resistance is futile

Summer tomatoes. Annual indulgence is necessary. Resistance is futile. Those rich, juicy tomatoes you grow in your backyard—tethered to ancient wooden stakes, slumping heavy fruits hoisted with stretchy nylons that are long ruined with runs—are a wondrous annual indulgence, and yes, impossibly irresistible.

Every winter I dream of that scent that wafts through the air after I rub against the green tomato vines, and lust for the flavor of each bite, saturated with the tastes summer. I grow all sorts in my humble little potager, from little yellow pear ones, to beefy colorful heirlooms. The Brandywine variety is my current favorite, in case you were wondering, but that might change next week when the San Marzanos ripen. So many tomatoes—all at once, it often seems—and so many different way to enjoy them, from a spicy gazpacho, to a plate of them with mozzarella and basil, and a hundred other ways in between.

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For me, the perfect way to showcase these colorful treasures is with a good old BLT sandwich. Top notch ingredients are paramount. First, find a gorgeous piece of bread—not too wimpy, and not too crusty. Lightly toast two thin slices of it, slather both sides in Hellman's mayo, then add a few slices of a cobb smoked bacon, some crunchy romaine lettuce, and of course, thick slices of backyard tomatoes, salted and peppered first. A BLT seems to cover most of those taste bud senses...sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. You know it's a good sandwich when the juices start dripping down your hand and arms. Oh yeah, summertime!

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