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Saturday, August 16, 2014


Pink. Red. Yellow. Orange. Green. Brown. Purple. White. Black. Striped. Rusty Red.
Summer tomatoes.
You can taste the colors. From high sugar/low acid to low sugar/high acid to a fifty-fifty balanced split, the flavors of ripe summer tomatoes are literally reflected in their varying colors.While I might be partial to the lusty dark purple and black varieties, I love them all. Any simple stroll through the sea of tomatoes at the farmers market usually makes my head spin. New varieties pop up all  the time. Expect the unexpected. Depending on my mood on any particular day, I might opt for tangy Green Zebras over the irresistible deep smoky sweetness of Purple Cherokees. Then again, cheery Lemon boy or Yellow Pear cherry tomatoes might out-pretty my bent toward sultry Sun Golds. On some days, I can't choose which way to go. Big. Small. Sweet. Smoky. Tart. On other days, I'll forego the decision making and pick a few from my  garden.

And... then there are those days when I simply choose them all. Boom. Yep. The whole shebang. It happened on a very normal early morning pre-work market romp. Befuddled by the dizzying array of colors dancing under the morning sun, I grabbed every variety and color I could get my hands on. Gone was the notion of characterizing and labeling them by sweet/tart ratios. With that in mind, why not toss them all together with a few market peaches and see how nicely they play together? Sun-kissed tomatoes with warm ripe peaches.

Summer Peach and Tomato Salad.
I can't say I did much. It was a simple salad. With such gorgeous tomatoes, my goal was to not muck it up. Starting with the smaller ones, I halved a few Paw Paw Plantation black Indigo Rose plum, Speckled Roman Roma, and Sun Gold tomatoes before splitting several Stonehedge Farm Green Zebras and setting them aside. After slicing Pulaski County red Mule Team, Amana Orange, Great White, and Virginia Sweet tomatoes into thick rounds, I halved a few Green Doctor cherries and sliced thick wheels of Casey County Purple Cherokee tomatoes before snagging a few dainty Yellow Pears from the garden to add to the mix.

With everything on deck, I overlapped the larger sliced  tomatoes onto Milk Glass plates, scattered the smaller ones over the top, tucked thin wedges of warm freestone market peaches into the tomatoes, and splashed the salad with a faint drizzle of white balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil before finishing with parsley, purple basil, coarsely cracked black pepper and flaked sea salt.

Taste the colors.
Eat summer while it lasts.

Simple. Fresh. Fun.


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