The tomato is the gateway vegetable of the summer, the bellwether for when we
reach the peak of the season. As they ripen from pale green to deep red, tomatoes are
summer’s natural thermometers. Varieties of heirloom and other tomatoes
are showing up at a number of area markets. Though the quality of supermarket tomatoes
continues to improve, it’s still hard to beat the flavor offered by local farmers.
We’re fortunate that tomatoes are in season when the risk of sunburn (and skin cancer) is
high. Tomatoes are full of essential nutrients, plus antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin
C that help tamp down inflammation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The key to the following recipe is to use fresh, in-season tomatoes. If only flavorless
supermarket tomatoes with poor texture are available, table this recipe for another time.
• 6 to 8 ripe tomatoes, sliced
• 2 shallots
• 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 3 to 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• a handful of fresh parsley leaves, lightly chopped
• 12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Combine shallots, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, oil and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil to blend. Set vinaigrette aside. Arrange tomatoes on a large platter. Season with salt and whisk vinaigrette again and drizzle over salad.