So I'm living very much in the moment, right now. My tangible accomplishments are roughly zero; I'm too busy attending to what actually matters. My closet's a scandal. Don't open my fridge. Fortunately for all of us, live things won't wait, which includes not just people but fresh garden goods. I'm doubling-down on my flower cutting, suddenly aware they've got expiration dates. And I'm reveling in tomatoes that keep coming on, so thick and so strong it's almost too much. Almost. Not quite. Maybe not even close.
I wait all year for these chin-drippy babies, and I've been amply rewarded and indulging for weeks, now. I eat them out of hand, off the plant, still warm, and still bring in fists-full. I've eaten as many BLT's as I dare, and dabble in the odd soup and salad, here and there.
Still, I tend to get stuck in an Italian-esque rut, falling back on the holy tomato-basil-mozzarella trinity. Sometimes it looks like a caprese salad, sometimes like a pizza Margherita. Sometimes eggplant edges in for pasta alla Norma, sometimes it's only pesto and a pile of juicy slices. Details aside, more often than not, my tomatoes tend to sound like Sophia Loren. I am always forgetting how talented they are.
I might nearly have let this tomato season pass without treating them like the all-Americans they are, had I not spied this salad, all sassy with blue cheese. I'm so glad I remembered, just in the nick. It's deceptively simple, and fiendishly good.
There's not much going on, just sliced ripe tomatoes, co-habiting a quick blue cheese dressing. But they're October tomatoes and there's sweet buttermilk involved and a dashing buckshot of parsley and onion. About that onion. I don't like raw onion. I edit it out of recipes, right and left. But against ripe tomatoes, it tastes just like sparkles, bright and crisp and twinkly and right. Add that creamy punk blue cheese and fresh herbal green and you've a plate of tomatoes you won't soon forget.
Tomatoes with Blue Cheese
Adapted from Bon AppetitServes 4-6
The original recipe called for 2:1 mayonnaise:buttermilk, fairly standard for such a dressing. If you don't prefer the flavor of mayonnaise, you can use Greek Yogurt, with just enough mayo for body. Feel free to tilt the balance, if you prefer.
I don't often talk about summer onions, but they are so very sweet and crisp when fresh, a world apart from their sulfurous February selves. This is a singularly summer salad for me, as much for the onions as for the tomatoes. I'm hopelessly partial to Maytag Blue.
4 large, ripe, fresh local tomatoes, cored and and sliced in wedges
1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup sweet onion, minced
1 heaping cup blue cheese, crumbled, divided
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup greek yogurt (2% or whole) and/or mayonnaise, to taste
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
10 grinds fresh pepper
3 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced (plus extra to garnish)
Combine all seven dressing ingredients, and whisk to combine. Add half of the crumbled blue cheese, and stir to incorporate. Test for seasoning, and adjust to taste.
Arrange tomato wedges and cherry tomatoes on plate. Season with several pinches salt, and scatter with minced onion. Dribble generously with dressing (you may not need all), scatter with remaining blue cheese and extra parsley, and take five.