“The tomatoes are ready” was the simple statement I heard on the phone the other day. No “Hello Mandy” or “How are you, my love” from my mother. Just a simple statement that filled me with dread. She was trying to break it down for me quickly – rip it off like a band aid so to speak. She knew I would be disappointed.
Why? It meant that I would not make it back to Perth in time for our family tomato sauce day. Tomato sauce day is not dictated by your availability or your ability to travel. It is dictated by the tomatoes themselves. There is a sweet moment in the weeks of February when the tomatoes are ready, and when you they are ready you order them by the case load and prepare for your sauce day.
There has been a lot of heat in Perth over recent months which means the tomatoes are ready a few weeks earlier than normal. It means I can’t make it home. It means I’ll miss sauce day as commitments in Sydney keep me here for the next few weeks.
Mum can hear the disappointment in my voice and goes so far as to suggest that maybe they can make the majority of the sauce now and if they can still get good tomatoes at the end of February, I can fly over and they will do a smaller batch for me. I smile. I understand the palaver of sauce day and am grateful that she would even suggest it. But I know I’ve probably missed my chance this year.
So instead, I hang up the phone, rush out to my local Ramsgate Organic Foodies Market and immediately purchase as many gorgeous tomatoes as I can get my hands on for a simple lunch bruschetta. I need to drown my sorrows in the beauty of tomatoes.
As I bite into this gorgeous bruschetta I can see immediately how perfect the tomatoes are at present, and I both love and hate them for what they represent. It really is the perfect time to enjoy fresh tomatoes in Australia so I urge you to pick up a few and make this dish. The simplicity of it perfectly showcases the ripe tomatoes and replenishes the soul.
Ox Heart and Green Tomato Bruschetta with Ricotta and Herbs
4 slices fresh sourdough bread
1 garlic clove, halved
2 Ox Heart tomatoes
2 Green tomatoes
6 teaspoons fresh ricotta
2 sprigs fresh continental parsley
2 sprigs fennel fronds
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Heat grill pan over medium high heat. Once hot, brush pan with olive oil and place sourdough slices on top. Grill the bread each side till bread is crisp and golden (about 2 minutes each side). Remove bread from pan and rub the top of each pair of bread slices with 1/2 garlic clove.
Arrange toasted bread slices on two plates. Slice the green and ox heart tomatoes and place on top of the bread. Top each plate with dollops of fresh ricotta and fresh herbs. Drizzle each plate with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve.