have you ever had a tomato?

I totally stole this picture. It's completely gorgeous and I couldn't resist. Click it to see the original. (Thanks, Rebecca!)

Unless you’ve gotten a farm fresh, peak of season one, preferably of an heirloom variety–my wager is that you have not.

Inspired by Season with Reason, and by the smell of ripe tomatoes that smack you in the face when warm days turn into warm nights, I made a sort of panzanella (that’s bread  & tomato salad for you ‘what the what is panzanella?’ lot).

Panzanella is best made with juicy, perfect heirloom tomatoes and leftover rustic bread. But when you have juicy, perfect heirloom tomatoes you can use leftover hot dog buns and it will still be delicious. Which is what I did.

Three hot dog buns, charred on my cast-iron grill, sat to dry out while I whipped up 1T olive oil, 2T sherry vinegar, 1t grainy mustard, 1/2t tomato paste, 2t honey, salt and pepper. Then I tossed in a menagerie of tomatoes either halved, quartered, chopped–whatever needed to happen so that they’d all be roughly the same size. I tossed them with 2T minced cilantro, a chiffonade of baby romaine (about 2 handfuls), and 5 minced calamata olives. Then, I folded in the bread, chopped. A simple, lovely, easy dinner for two: the tomatoes were sweet and tart, the charred bread added a bit of crunch and smokiness while the dressing gave a tang bolstered by the tomato paste that lended a lingering deep tomato flavor to complement the bright, fresh, herbiness of the salad.

But, as Rebecca (of Season with Reason) said, the time for great tomatoes fades fast. So find a farm stand, stat. You’ll thank me.

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