As we move deeper into November tomatoes become limited at the farmer’s market. I realize we are extremely lucky here in California because we still have local tomatoes. I love all the heirloom varieties that come during the summer but I admit to a strong attachment to the flavor of Early Girls – especially late season dry farmed Early Girls.
Early Girls are a popular tomato hybrid because they produce approximately 52 days from planting and are usually the first tomato of the season to ripen. They are a medium, tennis ball size tomato and have a slightly tough skin. Their flavor, early in the season is good but late in the season, when farmers can back off watering because the plants have a good root system established, dry farming intensifies the flavor.
As you can see, these late harvest Early Girls are small but their flavor is very concentrated and sweet now from a long hang on the vine. If you have the patience to peel them and make sauce, you will be rewarded with a delicious topping for bruschetta – or pasta sauce. Drizzle with McEvoy Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil – a simple feast.
Saute some shallots and garlic in Extra Virgin olive oil, add the chopped peeled tomatoes and cook until they begin to reduce and thicken. Stir in some fresh basil and you have a last of summer pleasure to hold you over until this time next year when tomatoes taste like this again.
The absolute easiest and perhaps the most delicious preparation with late harvest Early Girls is to wash them, cut them in half vertically through the stem end, drizzle the cut side with McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast them in a 200F oven for 4 to 6 hours. They become concentrated flavor bombs. If you are going to have a last of the season BLT – this is the way to go.