You must be signed in to print this content
The farmers' markets are at their very best right now, and it makes for some of the year's sweetest eating.
We're at the height of summer, and this is when tomatoes, which are so ubiquitous that most of the year we barely pay them any mind, are perfectly ripe, bursting with flavor, and available in a rainbow of colors, from deep burgundy, almost black specimens to giants striped in red, green, yellow, and orange. It is when corn is so sweet and so crisp you can eat it raw and when melons of all kind, but especially watermelon (my favorite!), are heavy with juice.
So this week I'm recommending you revel in the season, wallow in it, and eat as many tomatoes, as many melons, as many ears of corn as possible in as many different ways as you can.
I'm lucky to have a farm stand just down the lane from my summer vacation rental. I buy ears of corn by the dozen, grab the biggest watermelon I can carry, and I get my tomatoes from a woman locally known as the Queen of Tomatoes. Her offerings include heirloom specimens like Green Zebra, Mortgage Lifter, and Fuzzy Peach, but my very favorites might be the cherry tomatoes, with their own rainbow of colors and ranging in size from Ping-Pong ball to clusters of fruit barely larger than blueberries. They taste so much of the sun that I pop them like M&M's, their delicate skins exploding with a satisfying pop and a rush of juice. Of course, eating half of your stash before you get home is part of the fun of the season, but we've also got plenty of recipes that require a bit more (but not too much) effort. They're perfect for that last get-together of the summer before we all put our noses back to the grindstone (or, in my case, get back into the studio to shoot a new Food Network series). In fact, I served three of them for my birthday (plus a huge pile of ribs from my favorite barbecue shack) and there wasn't a crumb or a drop left.
As long as you start with a supremely flavorful specimen there's no way to go wrong, and serving a tomato salad with a cooked pasta sauce should not be considered too much of a good thing—just good.