Temptation is a plump, red, hot house tomato! And, I gave in to it.
I know that by common sense, it is ridiculous to buy a tomato in the middle of February when you are covered with a blanket of white around you, especially, one grown in artificial circumstances.
Yet, yet. May I ask you to imagine how a single lusciously red tomato looks sitting in the midst of whiteness? It is a siren call. And, if you can walk away without reaching out and wanting to touch and hold that gloriously seductive ripeness and, then, wanting it all for yourself... well, you'll miss the whole point of attraction, really! You may as well, not bother with the whole Valentine shebang this weekend! ;-)
So there I was, going about my usual innocent shopping. You know various citrus, blood oranges, apples, root vegetables etc.; regular sensible Winter stuff. Then I spotted the cart of hot hot HOT house perfection. Rustically heirloom, and innocently sitting there almost as if it was an illusion.
Needless to say, I was drawn to it like to the Holy Grail. You can envision it, can you not? The vignetting that fades the surrounding into obscurity while focusing ever so sharply on every detail of those ladies in red. An adrenaline rush, the glow on your face as sense and logic make a hasty retreat surrendering to the coursing oxytocin that overloads the senses.
Ah yes! Fatal attraction.
Back home, back into my sensible house flip-flops, they still had something on me. They turned my head, every time I walked past to get a cup of water or tea. There they were sitting on the counter, not teasing, just with a satisfied air of belonging. As if, to say, "I am just here whenever you need me".
I waited to slice into them. You see, I was filled with trepidation of cutting too deep. Would it have a heart? Would it taste as good as it looks? Will I make memories with it? Or, will it leave me with a dullness of a trussed, waxed pretty thing?
Eventually, I did. And oh! The angels sang. They danced. No regrets. No smugness from the late night price catch that sours in the morning but the glow of a well-understood connection that you want to cherish forever.
Have you bitten into a ripe tomato drizzled with sea salt and olive oil? No? You must, if you want to know what lust and love is! It is a singular pleasure. Very few things can compare to the slurp and settling flourish of that bite. The way the salt brings out the juices that as they come in contact with the olive oil, crescend into a spontaneous emulsion; Words do little justice.
Now, let us simply notch up the game. Blood oranges. There is something just wicked about them. Wickedly good. There they are looking pleasantly like an orange until you cut into them and watch them bleed. It makes you want to reach and suck all of that delicious, sweet, sticky nectar as it streams down your hand. It's reflexive. It's like an after aphrodisiac. You want it. More and more.
Bring the two together and it is not a spontaneous combustion. Just a more contrived one. One that you know creates fireworks today, tomorrow and everyday.
And, when you are done eating the whole, what remains in the bowl, is the real grail. At the bottom, while you were busy marveling at the majesty of the couple, the acidic juices from the two have been at work with the olive oil and salt to create a heady emulsion.
All you want to do then, is break off a piece of crunchy baguette, deeply swipe into that concoction, and, savor every last drop of it. And, If you don't have bread on hand, I would totally understand if you just lifted the bowl and just licked it clean!
Yes, that happened. Temptation came as a plump, red, hot house tomato! I gave in to it. And, I have no regrets! :)
Heirloom Tomato and Blood Orange Salad
It is almost silly to put down a recipe for something as simple and as uniquely individualistic as this salad. So, pardon me if the measures are not exact. Because, like a relationship, this is just about the ingredients and the quality of it. The metrics are really irrelevant.
Use more of some and less of the rest,
But use them all as you see best.
For none knows better than you,
What works best of all for the two.
You can skip the scallion if you like but in my humble opinion, it lends a little something extra to the lead couple. Like the freshness of discovering a new place together, it adds a crunch and a bit of spice to the combination.
ripe tomatoes, get them firm but with a yield
good olive oil
Parmesan cheese flakes
Toasted nuts to top
Slice tomatoes into rounds. Peel the orange and slice them into round sections too.
Finely chop the green leafy parts of the scallions, reserving the stalks for another use.
Place them all in a plate. Sprinkle sea salt fairly generously.
Drizzle the olive oil over like you are in love; go for it!
Serve garnished with toasted nuts of your choice.