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Fresh tomatoes: 8 International Ways

Jul 22, 2006

"The best way to eat them is in the garden, warm and pungent from the vine, so that one can suck them unashamedly, and bend over if any juice escapes."-M.F.K. Fisher on Tomatoes

"In a world riven by hate, greed, and envy, everyone loves tomatoes...Real (as I will call vine-ripened, soft-walled, acid-flavor, summer-grown) tomatoes are an article of faith, a rallying point for the morally serious, a grail"-Raymond Sokolov, Food Writer

Reasonable people still manage to disagree on whether to classify the tomato as a fruit or a vegetable. There is however broad consensus about one thing: biting into a warm, summer tomato is one of the most luscious pleasures the kitchen garden has to offer. At KGI, we share food writer MFK Fisher's "the simpler the better" approach to enjoying them. Below you'll find a "tomato table" which will hopefully give you some new ideas. It is not presented as a collection of exact recipes, but as a source of inspiration which you can adapt to your own appetite and tastes. Enjoy and remember to wipe your chin! Origin Description Ingredients Method

Belgium Fresh tomatoes stuffed with baby shrimp in lemon mayonnaise sauce medium-sized, firm fleshed tomatoes mayonnaise (home-made, if you can) fresh lemon juice parsley cooked baby shrimp (the Belgians use "gray shrimp" coming from the North Sea, but pink ones will also work) Cut tops off tomatoes and remove insides, salt and pepper inside, mix shrimp, lemon juice, chopped parsley, and mayonnaise in a separate bowl, fill tomatoes with shrimp mixture.

France Tomato salad with vinaigrette tomatoes (any kind) diced basic vinaigrette (oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard) shallot, minced hard-boiled egg (optional) salt and pepper French bread Prepare vinaigrette in salad bowl, add minced shallot, add diced tomatoes, and chopped egg, add salt and pepper, toss gently and serve with baguette to sop up the juices.

Greece Tomato salad with feta cheese and olives tomatoes (any kind) diced olive oil fresh lemon juice oregano (optional) feta cheese purple onion Greek (Kalamata) olives Place sliced tomatoes on a serving dish. Sprinkle on the feta cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with olives and onion slices. India Spicy ginger and tomato salad tomatoes (any medium or large size), diced fresh lime juice (1/4 cup for every 4 tomatoes) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced paper thin (1/3 cup for every 4 tomatoes) chopped mint 1 medium spicy pepper (banana chile works well) seeded and sliced fine salt Place ginger and chile in a small glass or ceramic bowl, add lime juice, salt and pepper, let stand for 20 minutes. Slice tomatoes and arrange on plate. Add mint, salt and pepper. Add ginger mixture evenly over tomatoes. Serve chilled.

Italy Tomato-basil bruschetta tomatoes (plum are best) diced olive oil fresh lemon juice basil, minced garlic French or Italian bread sliced and toasted Dice tomatoes and mix with all the other ingredients except bread; set aside. Toast slices of French or Italian bread. Spoon tomato mixture at room temperature onto toasted bread slices.

Poland Traditional tomato-onion salad with a hint of sweetness. tomatoes (any type) sliced 1/4 cup of finely diced onion per tomato 1/4 tsp of sugar per tomato bye or sourdough bread butter salt and pepper Prepare onion-sugar mixture and let sit for at least 15 minutes, slice tomatoes and place on plate in an overlapping fashion, salt and pepper them, spread onion mixture evenly over tomatoes, serve with buttered bread.

Spain Tapas-style, tomato-anchovy toasts tomatoes (any type) sliced olive oil garlic Spanish or French bread sliced and toasted anchovies in olive oil ground pepper While the bread is still warm, rub both sides of the toast with the garlic. Cut the tomatoes into halves and rub each side of the toast with some of them, so that the juice and seeds soak well into the toast . Slice the remaining tomatoes and arrange on the toasts. Drizzle each toast with olive oil and top with anchovy fillets. Add ground black pepper and serve.

Turkey Tomato and onion salad with mint tomatoes (any type) diced olive oil, lemon juice mint parsley, salt and pepper Prepare olive oil and lemon juice mixture in a small bowl. Dice the tomatoes. Slice onions finely and toss them with salt in a small separate bowl. Let them sit for 20 minutes. Rinse the salt off the onions in cold water and squeeze to remove the remaining water. Layer, first the onions on a serving platter, then the tomatoes, then the parsley and mint. Pour lemon mixture over all.

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