It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here!
Tomato season, that is, and I’m as excited as I am every year at this time as I begin cooking up some fabulous meals featuring this lycopene-packed fruit-cum-vegetable. (Check out my recipe page for inspiration, or search under tomatoes from the home page.) I’m starting my summer tomato tryst today with a salad starring colorful heirlooms served on a bed of dijon-dressed mustard greens. It’s beautiful, and couldn’t be easier.
Okay, well, actually it could.
The truth is that heirloom tomatoes are so divine they need little else but a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a touch of salt and freshly ground pepper and you’re good to go. (Or, as my dad prefers, sliced simply on a plate, unadorned.)
That couldn’t be easier.
Even so, while fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market are terrific this time of year, and they’re something I eat just about daily, I thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit by lightly roasting them and plating them atop sprightly mustard greens. Any green will suffice (eat your dark leafy greens!), but in-season mustard is a bit more special—under-appreciated, really—and forms a perfect accompaniment when tossed in a tangy dijon vinaigrette. Tomatoes are the key to this salad, though, so make sure to select a colorful mix that varies in flavor and texture to create the prettiest, tastiest dish.
Roasting tomatoes happens in a flash given they’re already soft: all you need do is season as described above—I added some snipped chives and parsley, too—and throw them into the oven for five to ten minutes at 425 degrees F. Watch the tomatoes closely because if you cook them too long they will break down and become mushy. (No one likes that.) Plate the heirlooms carefully on the dressed greens and scatter with gorgonzola if you’re into that kind of thing, else omit for a vegan version.
Not quite as simple or quick as eating tomatoes out of hand or slicing onto a plate, I’ll admit, but this elegant dish is ready in about fifteen minutes and gives gorgeous heirlooms the special treatment they deserve.
And they do deserve special treatment.
Savor the taste of summer.
Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. Her blogging is currently taking a back seat as finishes her first book. Dr. Newby brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time.
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