The ugly ducklings in my garden at the start of the season were the Cherokee Purple tomato seedlings that arrived in May from Urban Farmer. They were such scrawny little things—sickly-looking, almost (photo, right)—that I would never have believed it if you’d told me they would grow into mighty 5-foot-tall stalks, heavy with sprawling branches and beefy, grass-scented tomatoes. But now they are the showstoppers of my garden–the swans, if you will–that cause someone almost every day to stop and say, “lookin’ good.”
Better yet, the tomatoes taste fabulous. Freshly sliced—with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper—they’re nothing short of sublime.
But my favorite recipe of the season has been “My Fresh Tomato Stew for All Sort of Things” from Matt Wilkinson’s cookbook, Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables. With extra virgin olive oil, shallots, fresh garlic, baby capers, and fresh basil and parsley right out of the garden, it’s a true late-summer treat. Better yet, it’s easy to make–no peeling or seeding the tomatoes. All you have to do is chop them. And unlike most tomato sauce, Mr. Wilkinson’s version has only a pinch of salt. “You’d never know it,” said my husband tonight. “It’s so flavorful.” It’s amazing what fresh, tasty ingredients will do for you–along with the specified 14 grinds of the pepper mill.
Related post: Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables