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Tomato season never comes soon enough. When you’re caught up in the langurous rhythms of early summer, spending evenings near the grill and enjoying the longest days of the year, you wonder why you are still faced with lackluster tomatoes. Farmer’s markets are selling fresh herbs and all manner of other things that go beautifully with ripe tomatoes – but no tomatoes. Not until mid-July or August do the markets fill with crates of the gorgeous, fleshy fruit.
Taking advantage of this sudden abundance is easy because tomatoes are so good just as they are – eaten out of hand, not unlike apples. To keep them at their peak, leave them out at room temperature; refrigeration will compromise their flavor. To taste a fresh tomato dish at its most sublime, let it stand out for a while. A tomato salad, for instance, should sit for at least an hour at room temperature, the slices absorbing a sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and chopped fresh herbs.
Tomato Party Couscous Salad – quintessentially summer, this fun pasta salad is delicious, healthy and make-ahead. It’s perfect for pot lucks, parties and picnics! I’ve enjoyed this salad on it’s own, as a side with grilled chicken and in a pita wrap with hummus and shredded chicken. I’ve also topped it with crumbled Feta and a scatter of Kalamata olives and served it over baby arugula. It’s sure to bring oohs and ahhs when you uncover it, revealing the stunning array of tomatoes and tiny pasta.
“I don’t care what anybody says: Nothing is better than a tomato you grow. There’s something about it that’s different than a tomato you can buy. It’s a great thing.”
~ Tom Vilsack