The hunt is on. It is the peak season for tomatoes and I'm off to every farmers market searching up and down the stalls laden with the last of summer's bounty. Yes there are beautiful eggplant, beets, squash, arugula and green beans... but my eyes are only on the tomatoes.
I spot my favorite heirlooms and rush over to fill my bag with their vibrant red, yellow and even green succulent varieties. I buy three in one stall and five in another unable to resist leaving any behind. My bag is so heavy that I'm almost dragging it.
I could go on till more bags are filled but stop myself with the realization that I have enough for a family of twelve and "it's just the two of us " to cook for the next week.
At home unpacking my treasures, I can't believe that I ever worried that I might have too many.
There are tomato pies to be made; caprese salads; bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches; tomato; squash; basil pastas; and gazpacho soup.
It will be time for another hunt soon.
This is the recipe I tried first. It is from "Food to Live By" by Myra Goodman. It is easy and features the garden fresh taste of the Farmer's Market tomatoes:
SPAGHETTI WITH FRESH TOMATOES, ZUCCHINI, AND BASIL
Serves 8 as a first course or 4 as a main course
2 medium-size ripe tomatoes (about 2 cups cut into 1/2 inch dice) or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon truffle oil, or l additional tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Pinch of dried red pepper flakes Sal del Mar 1 pound dried spaghetti (I used linguini) 2 medium-size zucchini (about 8 ounces) cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups) l large clove garlic, minced Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the truffle oil, basil, parsley, and pepper flakes in a medium-size bowl and stir to combine. Season with Sal del Mar to taste. Let the tomato mixture sit a room temperature until the flavor develops. About 1 hour.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water (of course, with Sal del Mar) to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a medium size skillet over medium low heat. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Season the zucchini with black pepper to taste.
4. Drain the spaghetti into a colander and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the tomato and zucchini mixtures to the spaghetti and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more Sal del Mar and/or pepper, if needed. Serve the spaghetti warm or at room temperature.