Tomatoes were my favorite food as a child, and my attachment to them has never really gone away. I look forward to them being in season all year long, and I celebrate their appearance more than any other summer produce. Unlike many vegetables, for which I’ll have a strong preparation preference (broccoli steamed; cauliflower roasted; spinach raw) I’ll take tomatoes raw, roasted, sautéed, or sauced. It’s all (so, so) good.
Tomatoes are finally teeming at markets near me, and I’m gorging in the predictable summer fashion. There have been plenty of moments of cutting them up, sprinkling them with salt, and eating them with my hands from the cutting board before I even have a chance to sit down. But sometimes I’m a little more dignified, and this warm lentil, tomato, and mushroom salad is my latest favorite thing to do with tomatoes if I’m patient enough to cook them.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s great for summer, when tomatoes are at their best, but you can also substitute canned tomatoes in winter. Likewise, it’s wonderful hot, but the leftovers are excellent cold, which I learned today when I had them for lunch. You can make it more or less hearty: I’ve been enjoying it at lunchtime with toasted sourdough, but it could be a filling dinner along with a soup, or you could even turn it into a topping for pasta or noodles, rather than greens.
In other words, plenty of ways to adapt this one. And while I kept the seasoning super simple (garlic, balsamic, salt and pepper), you could throw in fresh herbs, a flavored vinegar, or even a pinch of harissa or crushed red pepper flakes for heat, if you like.
I know I’ll be enjoying this simple dish well into the fall, and I’m hoping it’s low-key enough to be one of the meals I can rely on once the DI begins. Fingers crossed—and fingers crossed that it might find its way into some of your kitchens, too.
Before too long I’ll be back usual weekend reading thoughts. Till then, take care.
What’s your favorite meal? One of my favorite poets counted lunch as his. He even devoted a collection of poems to it. Sadly, too many of us spend our lunches rushed, distracted, or chained to our desks, caught up in the wear and tear of the workday. In my many years of blog reading, one particular food chronicle has always impressed and inspired me. It’s Cafe VegNews, which is a weekly journal of the incredible lunches prepared and eaten by the Vegnews Magazine…