After three years of living in Thailand, a fellow expat New Zealander asked me what I was looking forward to most, when I returned home in a few weeks. “Tomato sandwiches,” I responded, without question. I’d be arriving back in New Zealand in February. Mid-summer, prime tomato season. The tomatoes would be ripe, full of flavour, delicious. Tomato sandwiches were a staple as we were growing up. And there’s still nothing like the taste of ripe, sliced tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and pepper, sandwiched between two fresh thin slices of bread. The key is its simplicity. The taste of the tomatoes reigns supreme.
Sadly, the summer tomato season is over now, though the supermarkets are still full of greenhouse tomatoes. They don’t taste the same, but even slicing one the other day (for fried rice) saw me inhaling the scent of it in bliss (and hence this post). In winter I still use tomatoes, roasting them or putting them in stews and soups and pasta. I cannot imagine a world without tomatoes. (Tomatoes were available in Thailand – so I didn’t have to go cold turkey, but they were just not the same). Think what I would miss:
- Tomato sandwiches
- Tomato and basil – these two things equal summer
- Tomato, basil and mozzarella salads. (I have a recipe where I add roasted capsicums into the mix).
- Tomato and mozzarella pizza; the best pizza I’ve ever had was in a vegetarian restaurant in Rome, smothered in fresh slices of ridiculously ripe and tasty beefsteak tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, with flurries of basil and mozzarella. Sigh.
- Roast tomatoes
- Tomato soup – yes, from a can if necessary
- Chopped tomatoes in fried rice
- Various tomato sauces over pasta (including Bridgett’s sauce with pesto and cream/low-fat evaporated milk she included in a blog comment)
- Cherry tomatoes with lemon, caramelised onions, olive oil and smoked salmon over pasta
- Tomato relish bringing taste to just about any savoury dish
- Semi-dried tomatoes, adding flavour to pasta, stir-fries, anything
- And yes, even processed tomato chutney sauce (a bit like ketchup) with our fish and chips
I’ve heard that there are people who don’t like tomatoes. My mind boggles.