Summer, for me, means tomatoes.
Fat, red, juicy, ripe tomatoes, still warm from the sun and picked right off the vine. I love them quartered and sprinkled with salt and eaten right there (standing over the cutting board with one hand under my mouth to catch the juice), chopped into salads, pureed into gazpacho, added to any number of dishes in any number of ways.
My favorite way to enjoy them, however, is marinated in olive oil and vinegar with salt and pepper and minced garlic (and now and then, a dash of basil or oregano), just like my grandpa used to make. He didn't cook often, but this was one of his recipes that he would prepare (Grandma wasn't in charge of this one!) all summer long while the tomatoes were at their peak. I think of him every time I make them, and the memories are every bit as enjoyable as the tomatoes.
I keep a container of these in my fridge throughout the summer, just like Grandpa did. Actually, I usually have two containers- one made with balsamic vinegar and one with red wine vinegar. They are easy to make, bright and flavorful, and can accompany almost any dish at any meal…even breakfast. I confess, I had some with my eggs this morning, because they (and the memories) were calling to me.
2 large, ripe red tomatoes, any variety
2 gloves of garlic
1/4 cup balasmic or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup good light olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Mince garlic, and mix with vinegar and oil, salt and pepper.
Chop tomatoes and add to mixture.
Stir well to coat.
Marinate at least 1 hour.
Add more tomatoes to the marinade as needed- don't keep original marinade more than 3 weeks.
These are best when using locally-grown fresh, ripe tomatoes are used- none of those pink, plasticky thing avalable at the store in the off season!