The big, red, ripe juicy tomatoes of summer aren’t quite in season in the mid-Atlantic states yet, but cherry tomatoes – those miniature red orbs – are abundant right now.
I never liked cherry tomatoes as a kid. Maybe it was because my mother used to cut them in half and put them in salads where their runny centers leaked all over the lettuce. Cherry tomatoes just seemed like an imitation of the real thing.
I loved “real” tomatoes that were the size of tennis balls. To me, there was no better sandwich than American cheese on white bread with thick slices of tomato, mayonnaise and salt.
Then I was introduced to the glories of fried red, not green, tomatoes – thick slices, dusted with flour, salt, and pepper and then fried in bacon grease. Let me tell you, that is one of the best tastes in the world.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, but I’ve discovered that the best way to enjoy a cherry tomato is hot. It was by accident. I had a lot of them left over, and I was making sautéed vegetables one night so I threw a handful in – whole.
When I popped one in my mouth, all warm with slightly softened skin, and bit down, the cherry tomato exploded in a warm bath of tomatoey delight. Yep, it tasted like their big cousins, their flavor intensified by the heat.
It must be a coincidence, I thought, not to be repeated. So I tried it again the next night. I sautéed some spinach and threw in a handful of whole cherry tomatoes and dusted the dish with shaved parmesan cheese. Cherry tomato bliss! I’ve been converted to a cherry tomato lover.
© Lynn Wyvill 2012