Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Beefsteaks, cherries, plums, Big Boys, heirlooms, Sungolds—there seem to be as many varieties of tomatoes as there are days of summer. A South American native, this fruit—yes, it’s botanically a berry, therefore technically a fruit—was cultivated by the Aztecs as early as 700 A.D. Since then, there’s been endless debate over what exactly constitutes a great tomato (if you've ever tried a grocery store tomato in mid-January, then you certainly know that not all tomatoes are created equal). A tomato should have a hefty feel and pleasant scent, and should readily yield to a sharp blade with little pressure or sawing. Inside, it should glisten and shine, with small seed pockets and a thick gel. Both sweet and acidic, it should burst with flavor and feel silky to the tongue.

And, it should taste like summer.

Years ago (when I actually had a "real" job + didn't work in my pajama's) my office was located on 21st and Broadway, just a few blocks up from the Union Square Greenmarket. My good friend-slash-colleague, Mike, and I would pass through the market several times each week in order to meet with a client down on 11th Street. Food lovers that we both are, it would be impossible for us to resist browsing the farm stands, and we would inevitably arrive back to the office weighed down with bags of ripe berries, Jersey corn, bright green string beans, sweet peaches, or whatever fresh produce caught our attention, inspired an idea for dinner or dessert. One of my favorite memories of summer is of us, on a hot, steamy New York afternoon in mid-August, slowly carrying our haul back uptown, while popping sun-warmed grape tomatoes into our mouths like sweet, delicious candy.

Sometimes even bustling Manhattan can feel like Main Street, USA.

Whoever the genius was who first thought of taking two slices of bread, and putting slices of ripe, red tomato, crispy bacon and sweet mayonnaise between them should be given an award; this is the quintessential sandwich of summer.

3 (0r more) strips cooked bacon
1 ripe Beefsteak tomato, sliced
2 slices bread, toasted
Lettuce leaf
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Spread mayonnaise on one side of toast. Top with sliced tomato, bacon, lettuce, salt and pepper. Place second slice on top, cut sandwich in half and serve.

Makes 1 Serving.


catherine said...

Hey Suzanne,
love your blog
loved meeting you at Ronni's.

love BLT's and speaking of tomatoes check out my site www.thebigtomatofest.com. Did you attend it a couple years ago?
Just bought your book on Amazon Can't wait to read every page!!

Lisa said...

Hi. I just wanted to say I am currently on love with your blog! I just found your site when i googled ideas for summer!! I was wondering if you could suggest any recipes for squash... my garden is overflowing with zucchini, patty pan and crookneck!! Thank you for your help! <3



Squash recipes coming your way. Sit tight!



Catherine! Thank you for visiting. How in the world did I miss the Big Tomato Fest?! Actually, a better question should be, how can we have another Big Tomato Fest in the future!?

Wonderful meeting you as well--let's cook together sometime soon!