Friday, May 30, 2008
All Hail the First Tomato!
To be quite accurate, this Lemon Boy is NOT my first tomato of the season. It is the first tomato of the season to make it inside the back door. I've been eating currant tomatoes (labeled as yellow but growing red) straight off the vine for a week or two now.
I love the color, flavor, and texture of the Lemon Boys. They are an almost perfect globe of sunlight. They grow relatively pest and disease free, but please don't let them hear that and prove me wrong. Furiously knocking wood now.
Also ripe and ready to eaten was the first Black Krim. I was so excited to sink my teeth into it that I neglected to take its picture before slicing it open. It's shaped like a beefsteak and is darkly colored, although I wouldn't necessarily call it black.
Its interior color is also quite dark. Because the Black Krim was the first tomato I had not eaten before, it received the honor of being this season's official first tomato.
My first tomato ritual, while not as elaborate as Carol's, is nonetheless highly anticipated. I make pan tostado con tomate y aceite, a Spanish breakfast treat I first ate while in Madrid five years ago. My husband and I were fortunate enough to spend three months traveling in Europe, and Madrid was our first stop. While normally I don't like to eat the same thing twice, especially while traveling, I fell in love with the tostado at first bite and had one almost every morning we were in Spain.
The dish is simple: toasted bread rubbed with garlic, soaked with olive oil, covered with diced tomatoes and a bit of sea salt. In Spain the olive oil, and not the tomatoes, is the star of the dish.
For my Austin tostado, the homegrown tomatoes must make up for it not being eaten in Spain. I use a toasted baguette, although in Spain the bread is a tad wider, somewhere between a baguette and a pain français. I also add lots more tomatoes than the Spanish version has.
Looking at this closeup, I now know why the Cottage Living folks wrote, "Sliced open it looks just a bit like raw meat!"
Luckily, the taste is much closer to heaven. And slightly cheaper than a plane ticket to Madrid.