Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tomato Fever

Everybody's got the fever
That is somethin' you all know
Fever isn't such a new thing
Fever started long ago
- You Give Me Fever by Peggy Lee

Everybody's got their own favorite season for foods, whether it's meat braising on the stove, promising warmth and comfort after a day skiing in perfect powder or a pile of fresh fava beans in the spring, simply dressed with olive oil, mint and a shower of salt.

For me it's tomatoes, particularly the first of the summer's heirloom varieties, that I long for every year. With names like Purple Cherokee, Green Zebra and French Carmello, there's nothing like their cool, sweet, acidic bite, eaten out of hand right off the vine, sliced in a myriad of salads or simply chopped and spooned onto toasted bread.

This salad is perfect as a side with grilled meats, or could also be used for topping crostini for a cool, refreshing appetizer. With some chunks of oiled and grilled bread mixed in it makes a great panzanella, and you could add cucumber as well. Any tomatoes will work, but a mix of colors and shapes make it tastier and more fun.

Tuscan Tomato White Bean Salad
Adapted from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook and

2-3 c. diced tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
4-6 small cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 15-oz. cans (or 3 c.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Combine ingredients in a large salad bow. Toss gently to combine. Best made about an hour ahead of time so the garlic and herb flavors will meld.


Ivy said...

I have a few Stupice tomatoes coming in. Come by and steal one!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Will do! Thanks!

Rahul Vora said...

Great looking salad!
I need to hit a Farmers Market soon, since the tomato plants in my containers seem to be asleep!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Nice to hear from you, Rahul! There's a good selection of organic heirlooms at New Seasons as well, if you're anywhere near one, though I always go for the farmers' market if I can.

Jacquelyn said...

I can't wait for my tomatoes to ripen! Every morning I check for any sign of color. Yummm

Kathleen Bauer said...

Nice to know I'm not the only one who's counting the days!

The LaVya Initiative said...

So delicious! Hard to count the ways! I'm so trying your bread cube idea next time. Now,if we could just eat it in Tuscany....

Kathleen Bauer said...

I'll post Dave's Grilled Bread recipe soon. It's brilliant, and puts that extra wow in the salad!