Tomatoes are one of my favorite fruits/vegetables*. In recent years, heirloom tomatoes have become popular in farmers market. Heirloom tomatoes are open pollinated variety (cultivar). Open pollination means that the tomatoes are pollinated using natural pollination by insects, birds, or wind, and were harvested in a traditional manner — the way we used to grow food before its modern mass production using commercial agriculture.
Nearly every tomato vendor in farmers market offer sampling of some of their heirloom variety, often with a dash of salt.
Beside their flavors, one other thing that I love about the farmers market tomatoes are lack of annoying fruit stickers. Sometime those stickers can get really sticky to fruits and vegetable and hard to remove. Off on a tangent, the best way to remove the fruit or vegetable stickers are when they are dry. You can also use some sort of oil to remove those stubborn sticker residue. Most food grade glue used in sticker are non polar and dissolved by non polar solvent such as oil.
All you need is fresh tomatoes in season to make a healthy and flavorful salad. I chose six cultivars of heirloom tomatoes from my local farmers market. They were; Black Prince, Chereokee Purple, Green Zebra, Kellogs Breakfast, Rose, and Sweet Tangerine.
My heirloom tomatoes came from two local farms, Potomac Vegetable Farms and Wheatland Vegetable Farms. Even very similar looking tomatoes could have drastically different flavors. The pineapple color kellogs breakfast had sour taste but similar looking sweet tangerine was full of sweetness.
I paid attention to get an array of flavors and color. In tomato salad, I tried to balance different flavors, such as sourness of green zebra and black prince were balanced by dark red chereokee purple and rose.
My recipe of simple tomato salad consisted of chopping the tomatoes and lightly salting them.
I didn’t add any other ingredients because I wanted a light tomato salad that would allow me to enjoy the natural flavors of tomatoes. You can change this basic tomato salad by adding a few more additional ingredients. Some of the examples are;
- lime and onions (cilantro) = fresh salsa
- extra-virgin olive oil and garlic (balsamic vinegar) = bruschetta
- chat masala and boiled/diced potatoes (yogurt) = chat (Indian appetizer)
- crumbled feta cheese and fresh oregano (olive oil) = Mediterranean salad
- basil and roasted peanuts (few drops of fish sauce) = Thai-style tomato salad
Enjoy the fresh heirloom tomatoes when they are in season!
* Culinarily speaking, tomato is a vegetable and botanically, it’s a fruit because it contains ovaries of plant with its seed.
Posted in: Food | Tags: Black Prince Tomatoes, Chereokee Purple Tomatoes, Green Zebra Tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, Kellogs Breakfast Tomatoes, Potomac Vegetable Farms, Rose Tomatoes, Sweet Tangerine Tomatoes, Wheatland Vegetable Farms