I go through phases where I become completely addicted to an ingredient…. my present addiction would have to be tomatoes. The recent hot weather has meant an abundance of delicious ripe tomatoes at the farmers markets, and I can’t get enough of them.
These sweet tasty tomatoes can not even be compared to the bland and watery things often passed off as tomatoes at the supermarket. Sadly many of the tomatoes we purchase have been kept in cold storage, grown in hot houses, or picked when not yet ripe, so have not developed the natural sugars and therefore sweetness.
In fact I spent years thinking that I didn’t really like tomatoes very much, they were simply an insipid and slightly soggy addition to sandwiches and salads…. and that was about it.
How very wrong I was….. it is only when you taste a ‘proper’ vine ripened home grown tomato that you realise just how good they can be. When tomatoes are in season, all they need is a sprinkling of salt and a grind of black pepper, and that is it!!
As well as being super tasty, tomatoes are highly nutritious too. Not only are they extremely low in kilojoules, and pretty much fat free…tomatoes contain the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which has unique cancer fighting properties, particularly for prostate and breast cancer. Like all bright orange or red coloured foods they are also a good source of vitamin C, as well as containing good levels of folate and potassium.
My current breakfast of choice is toasted whole grain sour dough, spread with either hummus or avocado, topped with sliced tomato, a sprinkle of sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. For a truly delux version add some chopped fresh basil, chives or mint and a little crumbled marinated feta.
Some other top tomato tip ideas
Quick snack – crisp breads, spread with ricotta, then topped with sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Lunch time salad – marinate halved cherry tomatoes in a little white balsamic and olive oil, let sit for 5 minutes for flavours to develop, then throw in the rest of your salad ingredients
Super easy salsa – coarsely chop 2-3 vine ripened tomatoes or 200g halved cherry tomatoes, add a pinch of dried red chilli flakes, 1 crushed clove garlic, good squeeze of lemon juice, dash of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine or white balsamic vinegar. Spoon the salsa over grilled chicken or fish for an instant flavour boost with little added kj or fat.