It is August and tomatoes are everywhere! Except on my tomato plants. I have a few green ones on the vines, but none red for picking. For now, I'll have to rely on my local markets, which are overflowing with tomatoes.
Heirloom tomatoes are all the rage - for good reason. Over the years, as farming became more progressive, commercialized and scientific, tomatoes and tomato plants were hybridized to create more perfect looking tomatoes, and tomatoes that were more stable to ship across the country. With these 'improvements' that large farms implemented, the taste and flavor of the tomato was sacrificed. These tomatoes that are found in many grocery stores are the often perfectly round, firm and tasteless. Up until a couple of years ago, I had lost my taste for tomatoes because I was so often unimpressed. Remember my 'real strawberries' revelation? This was similar...
Any heirloom seed means that the seed is at least 100 years old and has not been altered.
Heirloom tomatoes taste like tomatoes should taste. They are the type of tomatoes that our grandparents rave about. I particularly remember my "Pops" (grandpa) talking about his favorite sandwich being a tomato sandwich - no lettuce, no bacon, and certainly no avocado. Just bread, mayo salt, pepper and a thick slice of a home-grown tomato.
This recipe (more of an idea, really) for an Heirloom Tomato on Grilled Garlic Bread is almost as simple as my Pops' favorite, but a little bit better looking - great for a summer side dish for a party... or tonight's dinner. You can jazz it up with any spread you have around, but for me, when the tomatoes taste this good, simple is best.
Heirloom Tomatoes on Grilled Garlic Bread
1 Italian Loaf of bread or baguette
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
2-4 heirloom tomatoes (depending on size of bread loaf)
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Begin by slicing the loaf of bread in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Grill* face down for 2-4 minutes. *Or place under a broiler for 2-4 minutes, if you're too hot to start the grill. Remove from the grill. Cut a clove of garlic in half, and rub it on the toasted side of the bread. Slice tomatoes and place them down the bread. Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper. Cut it into 1-inch slices for sharing.
If you aren't firing up the grill for dinner, just put the bread face down in a skillet, or under the broiler. You just want to create a toasty surface to rub the garlic on.
Don't skip this step. You'll be amazed what the small hint of raw garlic on the toast will do - it is just the right amount of flavor for the tomatoes.
I used two varieties of tomatoes - a golden peach and a 'mortgage lifter'. I love yellow/orange tomatoes because they tend to be a little more acidic. Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper are the only thing you need - no substitutions!
Fresh & Light Summer Menu :
Fresh & Light Summer Menu : Chipotle Steak Salad Heirloom Tomato Grilled Bread Fresh Sweet Corn Chowder Peach Crostada Simple Hydrangea Centerpieces