These tomatoes are from my garden. I planted an entirely heirloom crop, this is my fist real garden, and each piece of food I pick from it, is a little gift of life. The sweet basil is ours too. All natural, no chemicals, good food, warts and all.
Tomatoes were not a favorite when I was a kid. They were grainy, crunchy and mushy at the same time, covered in a leatherlike skin and completely flavorless. When I was 21 years old, my future father-in-law was showing me around his garden, and he LOVED tomatoes and had them growing like supernatural weeds all over his yard. Have you ever seen what composted donkey manure does to a tomato plant? It’s quite frightening and seems to me like it could be the answer to ending world hunger. But I digress. . . my future father-in-law offered me a tomato, fresh from the vine, his pride and joy, warmed from the sun, sitting there in the palm of his leathery hand, still stained with the earthen efforts of gardening. How could I refuse? So like a good guest, and future daughter-in-law, I took it, and I took a bite out of it, and I was so pleased that I did not have to fake or exaggerate my reaction. That thing was amazing. It was not the same animal as the store boughts I grew up with, at all. It bore no resemblance, and that moment is frozen in time for me, 2 decades later, as being the beginning of my instant love affair with tomatoes. Here is my favorite way to eat them. This simple salad has all the right ingredients to highlight the tomato.
Mad Gringa’s Tomato Salad
4-6 tomatoes (cut up they will fill 2 – 2 ½ cups)
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 handful of sweet basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste if your tomatoes need it)
3-4 grinds of a pepper mill
Toss all ingredients together and let them sit for a few minutes before serving. This is fantastic the next day as well and the dressing created from it is delicious as a salad dressing or bread dipping oil as well. We like to eat this on crostini, fresh French bread, and our favorite way to devour this is on pizza. Store bought, restaurant, freezer section or homemade, I promise that this will turn any pizza into an experience.
Here, are our simple flat bread pizzas. But really, they are just a tomato salad holder to me. I love the flavors of tomato sauce, the cooked fresh tomato slices and then a scoop of the tomato salad on top. It is lovely.