Friday, May 02, 2008
T is for Tomato Tasting - Pan con Tomate
I read a comment by someone who said that tomatoes have the texture of the inside of an eyeball. Freddie shares this dislike for the texture of tomatoes. So following on from the success of our League of Lettuce I thought that we needed a similar tasting challenge with tomatoes. And late last summer Amanda, who blogs at Figs,Bay,Wine, came to our rescue.
She told us about Spanish Tomato Toast or Pan Con Tomate which is a traditional and very simple Catalan dish. Up until that time, Freddie would not eat raw tomatoes, only consuming them puréed in tomato soups or pasta sauces.
We went at the height of the tomato season to the supermarket. I thought I knew that tomatoes were red, unless of course they were unripe in which case they are green. But the tomatoes were competing with the lettuces in the variety stakes. Next to the conventional red ones were crates of yellow, purple, black and green tomatoes. And they boasted their own sign: ‘Heirloom Tomatoes'. Now when I think of heirlooms I imagine grandfather clocks or boxes of old photographs. But these jewels of the tomato world have exquisite names: the glamorous Eva Purple Ball, the exotic Green and Red Zebras, the esoteric Dr Wyche’s Yellow and the voluptuous French Marmande. It was a cast of tomatoes that boast good old-fashioned breeding. I politely invited them home to take part in a tomato tasting session.
And as we learnt, Pan Con Tomate has a great trick up its sleeve: it allows children to take charge of the meal. You simply give them huge tranches of toasted country bread, a little dish of olive oil, halved cloves of garlic, a little sea-salt and a selection of ripe tomatoes cut in half. Freddie and Alexandra squeezed, squelched and drizzled their way through plates of well-bred tomatoes. Freddie was creative with his scoring. “Its 10 out of 10 as a way of getting people interested in eating raw tomatoes and about 7 out of 10 for taste.” He didn't mention eyeballs at all!