Nothing says summer quite like a ripe tomato. It tastes of sweet anticipation, of languid Sunday afternoons in the shade.
Sliced, laid out on a plate, with just a whisper of salt and pepper, tomatoes are one of the season’s greatest pleasures. Between now and late October, New York City’s farmers’ markets are awash in all sorts of tomatoes, from meaty Jersey tomatoes to beefsteaks, heavy with juice. There are gnarly and misshapen heirloom tomatoes of various shades — vibrant green, sturdy reddish-purple, robust orange and fiery yellow.
The first tomatoes of June demand the simplest of treatments: salsa di pomodoro or uncooked tomato sauce, which goes well with house-made fresh pasta. It’s quick and easy: dice some fresh tomatoes, then combine with slivered garlic or red onion, a handful of minced parsley or basil, some excellent olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Toss with just cooked pasta, mix well, then eat.
Or make gazpacho, or any variety of BLT sandwiches, or insalata caprese.
Whichever route you choose to go, revel in their brilliance and don’t forget to carpe diem. When the last tomato is eaten, then will we bid them gone until next year is come again.
Tomato Confit, with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Olives
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper + more to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 lb. chanterelle mushrooms
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
For the tomato confit:
Slice tomatoes lengthwise and arrange in a roasting pan or Pyrex baking dish. Combine 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Mix well. Lightly sprinkle the tomato slices with the salt-and-pepper mixture. It’s okay if you don’t use up the salt mixture. The idea is to add just a touch of seasoning to each tomato slice. Pour the olive oil into a separate small bowl. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil atop each tomato slice.
Roast the tomatoes at 250 F for one hour, then at 300 F for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Keep the tomato confit warm in the oven while you prepare the mushrooms.
For the chanterelle mushrooms:
Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter foams, add the shallots. Sauté until the shallots start to become translucent, after about 2-3 minutes. Add the chanterelle mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, or until the mushrooms become golden brown, after about 6-8 minutes. Stir in parsley, then taste for salt and pepper.
Spoon tomato confit onto a plate, then top with mushroom mixture. Scatter olives on top, then serve immediately.
This recipe is sized for one person.
Time: About 3 to 3 1/2 hours, including prep. Most of the cooking time will be spent on making the tomato confit.