In our part of the world, Easter is the line between the warmer weather and the winter to come, and we are now well and truly headed into that part of the year when tomatoes are just not that great. Which means it’s time to seize this moment, this last hurrah of tomatoey goodness, and make the most of it.
In less, well, pestilent times you might get the family or some mates together to turn a few boxes of ripe fruit into passata. But on lockdown there’s something to be said for focusing on the essentials, and right now there’s not much more essential on the plate than tomatoes on toast. It could be just that: hot toast layered with slices of tomato (or rubbed with the cut side of a tomato, Catalan-style). Or you could make it slightly fancier with a couple of store-cupboard additions. Here’s one suggestion:
The recipe: Toast bread, rub with cut clove of garlic, smoosh in some chopped capers and parsley (anchovies would be welcome here, too, or basil), lube with olive oil, press the very ripe tomatoes on top, hit with flaky salt and black pepper, maybe some more lube. And that’s it. This could be breakfast, this could be lunch; with a glass of wine and a salad, maybe some soup or eggs on the side, it is most certainly dinner.
What are we watching with this? This is something you can eat one-handed, so it’s nicely suited to reading rather than screen-time. A big book, perhaps. I’m just about to crack The Mirror and The Light, the last volume in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy about Thomas Cromwell. Is this year the year you finally read War and Peace, polish off Gravity’s Rainbow and show James Joyce who’s boss – tomato toast in hand?
Leftover potential? Not much, though if you’re lucky enough to find yourself with a surplus of fat, ripe tomatoes and good bread, consider making the Italian soup papa al pomodoro – one of the greats.
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