Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I remember my Uncle Ronnie telling Daddy that our neighbor lady was a hot tomata. We had a big garden out back where my mama and daddy and my grandparents grew all kinds of veggies, but hands down, those tomatoes were the stars. Big red fat ones. My job was to pull the ugly green worms off the plants and drop them in a big metal bucket. I don’t know what my grandfather did with the disgusting creatures after I harvested them. It was my job to protect the lovely aromatic tomatoes at all costs and I was vigilant about my duties. I tried in vain to understand why Uncle Ronnie thought that pretty Mrs. Kelly resembled a tomato. I thought she looked like more like Marilyn Monroe. But Mama told her best friend Vi that she thought Mrs. Kelly should start doing sit-ups, on account of her potbelly. But her belly didn’t look like a pot to me. Her son was just an itty-bitty baby and Mrs. Kelly used to push him up and down the street in a fancy English-style pram. “You stay away from the hot tomata,” Daddy told Uncle Ronnie. Uncle Ronnie smashed his cigarette out on the side of the house and said, “Don’t worry, she won’t even look at me.”
Here’s what I do with vine-ripened tomatoes in the summertime, and when my kids come to visit they expect me to serve a bowlful with every meal.
I’ll leave the quantities up to you. Chop up your tomatoes in bite sized chunks. I like to mix different varieties and colors, if available. If not, just use what you have on hand. In a pretty bowl with room to toss, add: diced garlic (roasted works really well for a softer garlic flavor, but raw works too), diced shallots (or purple onions or green onions), fresh basil ribbons, chopped Italian parsley, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar), and sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let the tomatoes sit for at least twenty minutes before serving, and be sure to stir several times.
All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.