Tuesday, July 19, 2011
We had lunch with Silas and Graeme over the weekend, sitting under Silas' cherry trees eating Graeme's simple (in the best way) and very seasonal cooking.
We almost had no lunch. I had promised that we would be bringing some of our latest Brooklyn boerewors, but at the last moment we had second thoughts. Our third batch has been a disappointment: we think the wires got crossed with the two spice mixes I dropped off at the butcher's - we suspect that only one containerful made it into the sausage. The sausage is a mere shadow of itself. Not daring to bring inferior wors to a South African (Graeme), we brought presents of South African wine, instead.
But. Where's the boerewors? asked Graeme as I sipped some iced tea in the kitchen after our walk around both their gardens. No boerewors, I said. Oh, he said: Well, that was going to be lunch!
Luckily he'd been to the local farmers' market in Montclair and a steak was soon rustled up, accompanied by perfectly ripe Jersey field tomatoes, sliced and roasted squash (the nicest I have ever had) and buttery potatoes in their skins. We drank a heartbreakingly good 1999 Delheim Cabernet Sauvignon, which is oooold for a South African red. Yellow peaches for dessert. Our first course was a single ear of white sweet corn, served with pats of butter, salt and pepper.
But what does this have to do with naked cherry tomatoes? Somewhere in the course of conversation during lunch Graeme told me that he dips cherry tomatoes in boiling water to remove their skins, before serving. Now I have dipped many a tomato in boiling water in order to skin it, the but always for sauce, or soup. It had not occurred to me to do this to a small, small tomato. But Silas' eyes had lit up while listening to the story and he declared this sort of cherry tomato to be Very Good. He is a man of some discernment.
So, for dinner last night, I skinned cherry tomatoes for the first time, ever. One minute in boiling water, then I poured it off (or they would start to cook and become mushy). It didn't take too long to pull off the papery skins. And then I served them with some very fresh, very good buffalo mozzarella from Sahadi's, which has a new batch in (the last one was ancient, on the shelf well after its sell by date. Tsk. These are good till August). I used three kinds of basil from the terrace to tear up and sprinkle over the tomatoes and cheese, with lots of black pepper, a little salt, and some pretty, green olive oil.
Result? Velvety little tomatoes. And as Silas had promised, Very Good.
We still owe them sausage.