This week while on the SAMM Van the beautiful fruit that stood out most to me was the tomato. These healthy and delicious fruits have a surprisingly amusing history. It is believed that tomatoes were first introduced to southern Europe in the 16th century by Spanish explorers returning from Mexico. In eighteenth century Europe there was a widespread fear of the tomato. It was dubbed the “poison apple” because many wealthy europeans died after eating them. The connection that people of the time period failed to make was that many aristocrats of the time ate off of pewter plates, and the acidity of a tomato paired with a pewter plate caused the plate to leach lead. This created led poisoning which was the actual cause of death. This fallacy lingered for hundreds of years making farmers and consumers wary of the fruit. Due to this unwarranted fear, tomatoes were grown
ornamentally for some time, and not grown for food until the late 1800’s. In 1880 the pizza was invented in Italy, this gave even the pickiest eaters of today a reason to love tomatoes. We know now that tomatoes are friends not foes and go great with many dishes. I made a list of some of my favorite ways to add in tomatoes to a meal
1. A juicy slice of tomato on a burger or sandwich of your choice. I love Veggie burgers with hummus or guacamole. I also enjoy a mozzarella cheese, basil pesto, sliced tomato, and balsamic dressing sandwich.
2. I toss fresh tomatoes into a pan to gently sear them and add to a sausage and veggie pasta dish.
3. Gently searing tomato rounds or halved small tomatoes in a pan with a fried egg, avocado, and multigrain toast for breakfast
4. Any type of vegetable kebab for the grill.
5. Eating small fresh ripe tomatoes as a snack!
These are just some of the simple ways I can think of to add in tomatoes but there are so many other simple and complex recipes to try out with tomatoes. Now is of course the best time to eat them while they are ripe, and available locally. Look for them at your local farmers market, and give this recipe a try!
1 baguette, cut in half length-wise and toasted
2 teaspoons minced garlic (I use the kind in a jar)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 1⁄2 finely chopped roma tomatoes
1⁄3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaf
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon s
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1.In a medium mixing bowl, add the tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, olive oil, cheese, salt and pepper.
2. Mix thoroughly and let sit for at least 15 minutes at room temperature to let the flavors marinate.
Slice the bread into individual pieces and spoon the mixture on top.