last week i was inspired by mark bittman’s article “the proper ways to treat an heirloom.” his recipes were so mouthwatering that i had to try one. the outcome of the garlicky pappa al pomodoro was so enjoyable that i will definitely be trying all his suggestions in due course.
heirloom tomatoes are such a treat, both in flavor and in appearance. they may seem a bit misshapen at first, but their bulges and crevices disguise a fruit that is incredibly flavorful and sweet. and yes, they can be expensive, but they are worth it. you have to try them at least once so that you will know what the full potential of a tomato can be. i am partial to the rosy pinks, the yellow-oranges, and the dark brownish-reds. but go ahead, taste all the colors you can find and see which ones you like best!
when you’ve picked out your favorites, follow bittman’s super-simple recipe, and in no time you will be savoring a steaming soup filled with the sweetness of summer tomatoes and a delicate kick of garlic. however, if you have the patience for one extra step, i recommend trading in the shredded day-old bread for some herbed croutons. with the fresh croutons adding an extra layer of seasoning this soup is so good you might have to start growing tomatoes on your own just to keep up with the demand!
serves 6 as a garnish
4 slices of bread, cut into 1/3″ thick cubes (i suggest something dark and whole-grain for extra flavor)
1 teaspoon each minced fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, and tarragon (or any and all herbs you have on hand)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup olive oil
1. preheat oven to 300°f.
2. toss bread cubes in a bowl with the olive oil, herbs, and salt. spread evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet.
3. bake for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and hard.
4. if you have leftover croutons, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. they are also delicious in salads!