The Spamwise Chronicles

Tomatoes Two Ways

Heirloom tomato season runs from early August through late October/early November here in New York City. My preferred method of cooking with them is to treat them as lightly as possible. These lovely beauties

heirloom tomatoes

represent the pinnacle of tomato season, so it behooves me to use them with the care and respect they deserve.

I use them in all sorts of preparations — from light salsas, to uncooked tomato sauces, to bruschetta and gazpacho.

For tonight’s dinner, they appear first in a late summer salad, paired with white peaches and watermelons, and again in a flavorful pasta sauce featuring slow-cooked onion and ricotta cheese.

Heirloom tomato salad, with watermelon and white peaches
Heirloom tomato salad, with watermelon and white peaches

Click here to view a large-size version of this picture.

2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 watermelon wedges, coarsely diced
1 white peach, finely diced
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
juice of half a lemon
a small pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon basil, julienned

Combine tomatoes, watermelon, peaches and shallot in a mixing bowl. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss together. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over salad. Spoon onto salad plates, scatter basil over each and serve at once.

Time: 20 minutes, including prep.

I love the taste of onions that have been slow-cooked in nothing but good quality olive oil over low heat. Cooking them (or other kinds of vegetables in this manner) results in a richer, sweeter and more luscious flavor.

Fresh pasta, with heirloom tomatoes, slow-cooked onions and ricotta cheese
Fresh pasta, with heirloom tomatoes, slow-cooked onions and ricotta cheese

Click here to view a large-size version of this picture.

1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon French unsalted butter, cut into bits
extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese (optional)
cooked fresh pasta

Gently warm olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until onion becomes a pale gold, about 25 to 30 minutes. You don’t want to caramelize the onions. If you do, that means the heat was too high to begin with.

Add tomatoes to the pan, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium. Let the tomatoes cook down, about 15 minutes. Gradually whisk in unsalted butter, stirring occasionally, or until sauce begins to thicken slightly. Add pasta directly to the pan. Toss. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in basil and ricotta cheese (if using), then serve at once.

Time: 1 hour, not including prep.

The pasta dish is my submission to Presto Pasta Nights #228, a weekly foodblog event currently hosted by Honeybunch of The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch and organized by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast, while the salad is my submission to Souper (Soup, Salad and Sammie) Sundays for the week of August 15, 2011 to August 21, 2011, a weekly foodblogging event organized and hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.

This entry was published on August 21, 2011 at 2:32 am. It’s filed under food photography, recipe, summer, vegan and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Tomatoes Two Ways

  1. I treat heirlooms the same way as a good champagne – don’t mess with them too much or you will spoil the goodness.


  2. Such a pretty salad–thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. (The pasta looks wonderful too!) 😉


  3. I like both recipes! I must try the combination of tomatoes and peaches: I actually get both in my CSA box.


  4. Pingback: Pasta For Dinner « The Spamwise Chronicles

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