It’s hard for people south of Minnesota to understand how glorious August is for tomatoes. When California is enjoying tomatoes in June, we are just putting the plants in the ground. When the red, white and blue of July 4th is loaded with tomato fireworks, we’re watering and pining after our little green orbs. But finally August rolls around and we are rewarded with bounty. Fruit suddenly ripen to jeweled tones of maroon, gold, pink, orange, green, white and yellow. Perfect little cherries, heart-shaped pastes, womanly romas, plump round salads and rotund heirloom beefsteaks beckon from the garden. They are so lovely when harvested that I often line them up on my dining room table as a centerpiece. But eventually, they must be eaten.
The first serious tomato meal for me is a tomato sandwich. There’s no recipe. Just pick the best looking tomato, slice it, toast some bread, slather it with mayo, layer on the slices, salt and pepper them and eat. If you happen to have a little basil to chiffonade on top, so much the better. Sometimes this sandwich makes it to a plate, but just as often I eat it standing up over the sink to catch the drips. Heaven.