well, this so-called summer in coastal california has been so in name only. with average highs in the mid-60s, evening temperatures dropping into the low 50s, and plenty of fog, mist and drizzle, it’s been serious sweater weather! this doesn’t help the tomatoes, who need those smoking hot, dazzlingly bright afternoons and balmy humid evenings to develop the rich and intense flavour characteristic of a truly great in-season tomato. our slowly ripening tomatoes are tasting little better than the winter supermarket varietal… what a disappointment.
i was, however, able to find a little basket of california heirloom cherry tomatoes at whole foods the other day, most likely grown somewhere inland and sunny. they were sweet-tart and incredibly intense. i sauteed a few cloves of smashed garlic in generous amounts of olive oil, tossed in the cherries, and cooked until they were just barely starting to burst. a quick toss with some ricotta-spinach ravioli, a sprinkling of basil, cracked pepper and freshly grated parmesan, and i had the fastest and summeriest meal of the season yet. i guess the salted, thickly sliced, beefsteak tomato, crispy bacon, and mayo sandwich on sourdough will have to wait until next year.