Summer is just about ready to shake the sand out of its beach towel, retire its flip-flops, and move the blue jar of Noxzema to the rear of the medicine cabinet. Save for one mediocre soft serve ice cream cone, summer seems to have passed me by. Having actively avoided lakefronts, boardwalks, and swimming pools for the past three months, I will admit to adjusting my running route in order to cross parched lawns with rotating sprinklers. Socially distant al fresco dining does not call to me nor does the Good Humor Man’s revamped ice cream truck jingle. Lackluster chocolate éclairs and anemic toasted almond bars have no place in my Summer of 2020. There’s more than enough chaos to absorb; ice cream novelties that pale in comparison to their former selves aren’t worth the energy.
What I’ve been noticing and appreciating more this year than in summers past are the Jersey tomatoes. It’s taken most of the summer to arrive at Heirloom and Beefsteak perfection, but at long last I’m living the tomato dream. BLTs worthy of accelerated cholesterol, Caprese salads dotted with fragrant basil, and my favorite, heirlooms lounging on a buttery pie crust. Real tomatoes can certainly stand on their own with little more than a generous hit of kosher salt and coarse black pepper. But summer tomatoes are accustomed to the heat, their sweetness intensified by slow roasting in the oven or as part of an open-faced pie. The tomatoes of late August are the ones that ruin it for the rest of the year. No matter how intently we cradle and prod, sniff and squeeze, the tomatoes that fill the produce aisles from fall to winter to spring will taste nothing like summer tomatoes. Which is why we need to stop and smell the tomatoes before the season packs up, leaving us with tomatoes as tasty as wax fruit.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm