Tonight was wonderful. I swear, I am my own best date. The other day I bought a pound and a half of beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes at Whole Paychec- uh, Foods. They were only 2.99 a pound, a minor miracle right there, and oh the smell. I buy all my tomatoes by scent. Try it next time you're shopping: pick one up, hold it to your nose, and inhale deeply. Sure you look weird, but you'll know immediately whether it's a tomato worth eating. Most grocery store tomatoes smell like nothing, it's like sniffing a photograph. But these heirlooms, oh my Goddess. They smelled flush with tomatoness and green leaves-- I knew they had to be mine.
Tonight I invited several people over, all of whom had plans. I carried on anyway. On my way home I picked up a ball of luscious fresh mozzarella and let the games begin.
I blanched three garlic cloves in the water I boiled for the perciatelli (a thick spaghetti with a skinny hole in the middle), then minced them up. I sliced the tomatoes into chunks: dark purple Brandywines, a heavy golden one running with juices, a small firm Green Zebra, and what I suspect was a Supermarmande because it was bright red, oddly shaped, and tasted more nuanced than most wine.
I plucked some basil from the plant I'm slowly killing (I murder one each summer, it's terrible), slivered it and tossed it in the bowl. I drizzled a fantastic Greek olive oil over all of it, sprinkled on some flakey Welsh seasalt, and cracked some of my floral Tazmanian peppercorns into the mix. Then I cut hunks of the fresh mozzarel (as they call it in my hometown) and stirred them into the tomato madness.
Using tongs, I swirled some hot pasta into a pretty white rimmed soup bowl, and then spooned some tomato-mozzarella mixture over top. I swirled it into the pasta, added a sprinkling of salt and pepper, drizzled a bit more olive oil, and voila!
I lit a candle, opened a bottle of Syrah even though I'd only have a glass or two, turned on some music from Mali (so beautiful, and great with tomatoes), and sat down to the best date I've had in a while.
You've got to try this before the tomatoes are all gone. There's only a week or two left when they'll be good enough for an uncooked sauce... and really, why not have a sexy tomato date with yourself?
Even if you share them.