Tags: tomatoes

Tomato Riche

Fall is just around the corner, each morning it provides a sneak preview of its impending arrival for an hour or two.  It’s my favorite time of year- I tend to celebrate with a long run before the humidity wipes clean the evidence of the changing season- when I return Paul is walking in from the garden carrying tomatoes up to his chin.  Each year it’s the same, we wait patiently, are even psyched out for a week or two, scratching foreheads wondering if we did something wrong and then without warning they arrive in bulk.  We plant three kinds,

1. Grape
2. San Marzano
3. Brandywine, an heirloom variety from the late 1800’s- its flavor is truly unparalleled, and though the fruit itself looks a little lumpy and strange, I have honestly never tasted anything like it.

Each of these varietals has a purpose, the grape tomatoes are usually slow roasted and pureed for soup, the San Marzano are for Sunday sauce, and the Brandywine are so perfect just by themselves that it’s rare for me to do much more than drizzle a bit of olive oil over them and serve them as a salad.

Last week however I decided to mix it up, if each of these tomatoes was so good on their own, together they could be unstoppable, like the Avengers! (Too much?) I prepared a simple sauce to top a package of linguini I had stashed in the cupboard.  I started with good olive oil, and added some anchovies to melt away in the hot pan; a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and my tomato trio simmered away just long enough to cook the pasta.  Topped with fresh parsley and basil, this was one of the best sauces we’ve had all summer.

Tomato Riche Sauce


2 Brandywine tomatoes
2 cups Grape tomatoes
4 San Marzano tomatoes

*The purpose of this dish is to use what is fresh and what you have in your own garden or what you find in the farmers market, seasonal, honest ingredients- please don’t go on a wild goose hunt searching for specific tomatoes- you will muddy the farm to table simple recipe and drive yourself crazy, no fun there…*

4 filets of anchovies
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped
Fresh parsley
Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)


Put a large pot of water up to boil with a handful of sea salt-

While the water is heating up, chop the tomatoes so they are all roughly the same size.  In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil on medium high, add the anchovies and allow them to melt into the oil so that no chunks or pieces remain.  This will only take a minute or two-the back of a wooden spoon can be used to coax them into melting -add the garlic and sauté until softened, next add all the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer while you cook the pasta – I used linguini- Once the pasta is cooked, reserve two cups of the starchy water and drain well.  Toss the linguini with the sauce adding the pasta water as needed.  Continue to toss with fresh parsley and torn basil leaves, if using red pepper flakes you can add them now as well.  Serve immediately and enjoy!


Simple Summer Tomato Salad

Vinnie and Tuddy’s summer camp had only one clear cut rule, “Don’t touch Pop-op’s tomatoes.”  Being small and prone to a bit of trouble, I neglected the “Don’t” in this singular law and became determined to get my grubby little hands on each piece of blazing red fruit.

On a slow mid day break from pizza making and breadcrumb crumbling, I carefully tiptoed over the border stones that outlined my Grandfather’s garden and snuck inside.  Amidst the greenery, wooden stakes and cages I was almost completely camouflaged.  I turned in circles on my heels, dizzy with joy.  Peering over my shoulder, to ensure Drew was keeping a proper look out, I began to methodically touch each dangling tomato solely because I was not supposed to.  I turned around once more and caught my brother with his head face upward, following a passing cloud in the clear blue summer’s sky and I knew I had lingered too long.  I felt my heart drop to the pit of my belly when from nowhere my Grandfather appeared like a ghost.  He lifted me up with one hand from the patch of tomato earth and placed me beside my clueless little brother.  Not a whole lot was said but his disapproving look hung around until dinner.

The next morning as Drew and I sleepily shuffled into the backyard of my Grandparents house, I saw my Pop-op hunched over a small plot of dirt about a hundred yards from his own larger patch.  He had re-planted a Roma tomato bush.  He presented us with an old Chivas Regal container full of miniature garden tools and motioned toward our newly pruned section of the yard.  I think our tomato plant lasted about two weeks, not bad for a gardener of 5 and 3 years of age.

*The recipe below is a classic-it’s simple and perfect alongside every summer meal.  Tomatoes only taste like themselves for two or three months out of the year- so after September you are better off with a can or jar.  The real thing is worth the wait. 


4 garden fresh beefstake tomatoes (if using plum make it 6, if using cherry or grape make it 12-14)
1/2 cup freshly torn basil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil


Slice the tomatoes into quarter wedges.  In a salad bowl combine the tomatoes salt, basil and black pepper, stir to combine.  in a small bowl or cup combine the honey and olive oil, whisk gently and toss with tomatoes.  Serve and enjoy!