Tomatoes and Olive Oil: Best Friends Forever
As we are approaching the end of summer, some tomatoes varieties are reaching their peak. Field tomatoes need a good dose of warm weather and even with this unusual mild summer we’re finding great tomatoes at our farmers markets and local markets and co-ops.
The tomato plant is native to the Americas, and its name comes from the Nahuatl (“tomatl”), literally meaning “the swelling fruit”.
History saw the tomato arrive in Europe and become an essential ingredient in some of the Mediterranean cuisines. It was there where tomatoes found their best ally to be enjoyed: Olive Oil.
According to recent studies, olive oil helps the tomato anti-oxidant lycopene to be more available to our bodies. This is obviously good news. Yet, the combination of tomatoes and good olive oil has been so wonderful in so many instances (pasta sauces, pizza, salad, bruschettas, gazpacho) that with or without this beneficial synergy we’d recommend this happy marriage anyhow.
Something particularly beautiful about having tomatoes grown locally is that farmers can pick them in their ideal moment of ripeness, disregarding the troubles that come from shipping food thousands of miles. That freshness will preserve both flavors and nutrients (that’s why some people are not only locavores but also chronovores, paying attention to when the fruit or veggie is picked). This is no surprise to those who have the good fortune to grow fruits and vegetables on their own!
We’ve found deliciously sweet Cherry tomatoes (ideal for a healthy snack), beautiful Green Zebra (not only for its good acidic taste but also because we also eat with our eyes) and the great Brandywine, the large variety developed by the Amish, that has that old fashioned tomato taste. There are other wonderful varieties (in fact, the vine tomato will stay a bit longer with us and matches perfectly our Tehama Blend Olive Oil or Eva’s Blend Olive Oil, both with tomato vine notes in their perfumes), all reminding us how much simple food, as our friends from Slow Food say, “good, clean and fare”, can give moments of great pleasure.
Finally, let us share with you this Catalonian way to enjoy tomatoes and olive oil (in Barcelona, this is such a usual way to start a meal or a round of tapas). Lightly toast a slice of a baguette, rub it with half of a fresh tomato and sprinkle with some sea salt and ground pepper. Finish drizzling olive oil on top.
The Pacific Sun Olive Oil Team
Leslie, Brendon, Pablo