BiteClub, Question of the Week

QOW: Favorite thing to do with ripe tomatoes?

CONGRATS TO Mudbug Eddie, who’ll receive my beautiful  Heirloom Tomato book.
As a full-time eater, I’ve nibbled my way through hundreds of restaurants in the Bay Area. I’ve got spare tire around my middle to prove it. But there are thousands of equally passionate part-time diners in the North Bay who know just as much — if not more — about local eateries, off-menu specials, lunchtime best bets, just-opened and sometimes-overlooked spots. Some of you have bigger dining expense accounts than I do, while others are penny-pinching students just looking for a cheap eat. But whatever your food budget, through my dining blog, BiteClubEats.com, Facebook, Twitter, email and just on-the-street chats with you, I’ve learned that together, we’re an unstoppable force in sussing out the best, worst and just can’t miss eateries throughout Wine Country.
That’s what this column is all about. One question each week answered by you, then edited and supplemented by me. Think of it as a delicious group project.
QOW: What’s your favorite way to eat ripe tomatoes? Which restaurants have especially great tomato dishes (Caprese, fried green tomatoes, etc)?
Please note that these comments may be used for publication in the Press Democrat, so please use your real first and last name (or sign in with Facebook) if you’d like to participate. Some lucky person just might get my desk copy of The Heirloom Tomato, a new book by Amy Goldman.

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21 thoughts on “QOW: Favorite thing to do with ripe tomatoes?

  1. Two best ways:
    Cubes of fresh tomato with cubes of fresh, ripe skinned peach or nectarine with Sonomic vinegar. Yes, believe it, it’s a fantastic combo.
    1 1/2 oz goat cheese
    1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
    One large ripe tomato peeled, seeded and chopped
    Diced calamata olives to taste
    Lots of fresh ground black pepper
    Finely diced garlic to taste if you’re a garlic hound
    Mash goat cheese with EVOO, stir in the rest. Toss with an appropriate amount of freshly cooked pasta. Indulge.
    The applause can cease now

  2. second choice–
    Sliced very ripe tomato, “fresh” soft motserella, fresh basil leaves, good olive oil. fresh ground pepper
    Slice tomato onto salad plate, cover with slices of motserella, (or scatter those little balls of the cheese) add a generous amound of fresh basil leaves, sprinkle with the olive oil and a grinding of fresh pepper.
    serve at room temp.

  3. Very ripe garden fresh tomato, (farmers market if necessary), sliced thick,
    Monterey Jack cheese from Vella’s in Sonoma,
    Sour dough french roll from La Bolongre in Sonoma,
    Mayonnaise. homemade or best foods.
    Cut roll in half, spread with mayo, add a thick slice of Monterey Jack and the sliced tomato.
    Absolute heaven when the tomato is so ripe the juice drips from the sandwich with every bite.

  4. A wonderful staple dish from Catalonia: Pan amb Tomaquet
    A slice of toast
    Clove of garlic, peeled
    Ripe tomato, cut in half
    Salt
    Olive oil
    In this order: rub the garlic on the toast, then rub 1/2 the tomato on the toast. Sprinkle with salt, and drizzle a little olive oil. Simple. Spectacular.

  5. Start with a colorful assortment of heirlooms, a cucumber, and a couple slices of grilled ciabbata or seeded sourdough. Brush the bread with some good, *local* olive oil. Cut the ‘maters, cukes, and bread into bite-sized chunks. Toss with minced garlic, a handful of fresh herbs–especially basil and thyme–and some really fresh goat or Pt. Reyes Blue cheese. Dust with–and here’s the kicker–lavendar salt, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar (I prefer locally-brewed “Sonomic”)..

  6. Slice thin very ripe tomatoes, a lemon cuke, add fresh basil, salt, pepper and a bit of your favorite vinegar. My favorite is Zary’s pomegrante vinaigrette, which is hard to find, so my husband order’s me a case of a dozen whenever we run out. Feta cheese is a nice addition too. Refridgerate a bit before eating.
    We start eating this as soon a we get any ripe tomatoes.

  7. Texas Tomato Sandwich
    This may be one of the tastiest things around. It must be made with fresh tomatoes, not the rubber ones you find in the supermarket. Feel free to go to a farmer’s market and buy homegrown heirloom tomatoes, big and juicy and so so so good. In fact go to your local farmer’s market and buy a lot..support your local farmers, all of them. OR
    Go to the garden and pick the biggest, reddest tomato you can find. Go to the house, wash it and cut it into slices, ¼ – ½ inch thick.
    Spread 2 pieces of white bread…I don’t often endorse white bread, but this sandwich demands it..with lots of mayonnaise. Lay tomato slices down, as many as you like, salt and pepper liberally, place 2nd piece of bread on. Get a big glass of iced tea, get comfy and enjoy.
    You may add thin slices of red onion, but simpler is better.
    God, I wish it was always tomato season!!!
    You’ll thank me for this.
    (this is from my cookbook “There’s not a healthy recipe in this whole damn book, a guide to southern comfort food” ) p.s. california tomatoes work well, too!!

  8. I love tomatoes in my salads, roasted or grilled, in a nice pasta sauce, as a side dish – but my all-time favorite is to use them in Pico de Gallo – always reminds me of simpler times when I was a little girl!

  9. Caprese Salad with my new favorite – Burrata…goes WAY beyond buffalo mozzarella for a caprese that is a cut above – delicious!

  10. Caprese salad made with Mozzarella di Bufala. No other mozzarella comes close! Slurp – having it for dinner tonight.

  11. Definitely a tomato, onion, and watermelon salad. Sounds gross but the combination is great. Had it for the first time a few weeks ago at a baby shower.
    Mix all together with some vinegar and oil and a little bit of salt and pepper and your set to go!

  12. On a daily basis, I love ripe tomatoes just sliced and sprinkled with salt. I can easily eat 2-3 a day like this between breakfast and lunch.
    My favorite recipe to make with ripe tomatoes is a tomato & bread salad. I make a vinaigrette dressing. Chop up my tomatoes and mix the dressing in and let is it on the counter. Then I make stove-top croûtons by putting a bit of olive oil in a pan, finely diced garlic, salt & pepper. Heat on medium-high. Then cut into small squares a good piece of sour dough or other yummy type bread – potato bread is especially delicious! Toast the bread cubes until brown, stirring constantly. Let cool. Mix croûtons into tomato salad when ready to eat or serve. You can also add Kalamata olives or peeled and seeded cucumber or even diced peppers to the salad if you want. I’m more the JUST tomato & bread kind of gal, however.
    As for which restaurant does well with ripe tomatoes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the caprese salad (on their flat bread) at Russo’s when it’s tomato season. Super yum!

  13. Harvested my first Nyagous, an earlyish black Russian variety, yesterday. Am enjoying a bowl of whole wheat pasta with a spec of butter, a good shave of parmesan, and a handful of Nyagous and Sun Gold tomatoes. Heaven. I too had a lot of sun damage from that blast of heat. The plants I’m growing in pots along a hot wall took the biggest hit. Am hoping to pick a Cherokee Purple in a few more days 🙂

  14. My Early Girl tomato plants, true to thier name, that were planted on May 4th, yeilded the makings for our first fresh pasta sauce this past weekend.
    I cut the tomatos into chunks, added fresh thyme, oregano and basil (also from the garden, natch…) and sauteed in a pan with olive oil and some white wine. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and mix with some cooked penne or fusilli pasta and i have the freshest taste of summer ever! YUM.
    I served this to my best friend who was visitng from Seattle, who is now hoping to someday have her own vegatable garden in Sonoma County.

  15. I have been thinking about tomatoes all week. I was hoping the blast of heat would ripen the brandywines in my garden. Sadly, the sun merely burned the skin of a few. Then the whole thing grew top heavy and tipped over. I have finally jerry-rigged the cage to a fence and am still hoping for red home-grown tomatoes at some point in 2010. I digress.
    This morning on my way to work I thought to myself, “what I really want is a BLT with some nice heirloom tomatoes and home-grown lettuce.” (At least my lettuce is thriving!) So consider that one of my favorite tomato preps: Good bread, yummy bacon, home-grown butter lettuce, some aioli and delicious, ripe, juicy tomatoes.

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