Some of you may remember my ramblings about the so-called "Ugly tomato" (pictured above) where I psuedo-scientifically taste-tested a tomato grown in Florida in the wintertime, the Uglyripe, that supposedly actually tasted like summer tomato. If you've been reading my site for any length of time, you've probably noticed my fondness for the red fruit; quite unlike my Eugene partner in food love, McAuliflower. Well, my tastebuds didn't particularily agree that the Uglyripe tomato tasted like a tomato in the summertime (although I was hoping that would be true...oh why can't that be true?), but I was particularly perturbed by the name they gave the decent-looking specimen of a tomato - Uglyripe. To me, this implies that the perfectly round, cardboard-tasting hockey pucks that you can get in the grocery store in the wintertime (oh, but let's not kid ourselves that summertime grocery store tomatoes are that much better) are what a "pretty" tomato looks like. I beg to differ! This is what a tomato looks like:
Knobby, mishappen, and definitely with some of those brown lines on the bottom on some of the most tasty of specimens! Sometimes big, bursting at the seems, with what I suppose to an untrained eye could be misconstrued as "blemishes." But, just as the ugly duckling turned into a swan with the passage of time, I think the Uglyripe, while not really tasting much like a tomato (although, bad scientist that I am, I could not bring myself to repeat the experiment to verify my results), sure as heck looks a bit more like a tomato that what you find in the grocery store! There is just nothing out there that tastes like a tomato picked from the vine; whether it be from a farmer's market, a friend's garden, or lucky you if you have your own vines in the garden. So, now as prime tomato season comes to an end and the last of these gorgeous little things are still bursting with sun and vine-ripened flavor, I thought I would just send a long a picture or two of what a real tomato looks like to pay homage to the noble tomato and in an effort to encourage all of you to not miss this last opportunity to enjoy the delicious taste of last summer and early Autumn before winter comes along and leaves us with only hockey pucks and Uglyripes once again.
Gorgeous, aren't they? Take a bow, little beauties, it's your time to shine!
One suggestion: This has become a favorite breakfast of LB and mine this summer - a toasted piece of hearty, whole grain bread (we love Cottage Grove Farmhouse Bakery's Dakota Bread), spread with a layer of cream cheese and topped with a few slices of ripe, red tomato. As always, the quality of the ingredients will turn this from something that is an okay combination of flavors into a stellar treat - but with the right tomato, it's pure heaven (I would eat this every morning, if LB would let me!).