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Box grater tomatoes
also, cucumber with rice powder, and lemony fennel salad
In the lazy sweat of last weekend’s hot weather, this low-effort dinner was magic: sourdough grilled in olive oil until toasty, rubbed with garlic, covered in fresh tomato.
Some recipes call for rubbing tomato directly on the bread, but I’ve found that using a box grater to flay them into a chunky sauce brings precision: you can dial in the seasoning before spooning it over. To finish, drizzle on more olive oil than you think it needs, and top with flaky salt.
If the grated tomato seems too watery, throw it in a fine mesh strainer briefly to remove some of the liquid — and drink by itself, add to gazpacho, or use in a cocktail.
By the way, Bread & Oil by Tomas Graves is a wonderful short book on the simplicity of such food, and Majorcan culture:
Fennel salad on yogurt
Also this week, a salad from sliced fennel bulbs and greens, tossed with olive oil, salt and lemon, and plopped over yogurt herbed with more fennel greens and garlic, plus a few strips of a nice parmesan found at Mac Market.
Toss together one cup fennel sliced thin, two tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice, some salt, and some fennel greens. Let it sit for 15 minutes for the fennel to soften slightly. Serve over a schmear of yogurt or tzatziki.
Cucumbers with tahini, chili, and rice powder
I learned about toasted rice powder by reading recipes for larb, my favorite Thai dish. It’s good on raw veggies too, especially right after they’re dressed.
About a tablespoon each of tahini, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and maple syrup, plus some salt, minced garlic, and black sesame seeds. Then, chili oil to taste. I used Momofuku chili crunch which is delicious and versatile. Chop a few small cucumbers into rough bite size chunks, add them to the sauce, and toss to coat.
Right before serving, sprinkle two tablespoons of toasted rice powder, and toss once more. The rice powder adds a nutty flavor and a whole layer of texture to the dish. You can buy toasted rice powder from Amazon or H Mart, but it’s easy to make your own.
It’s got twang
My advice for tomato sando season: have good sourdough and Duke’s mayo on hand! You can buy Duke’s online, but wait until autumn; in hot weather it might un-emulsify in transit. In the meanwhile you have to know someone who has a few extra jars…
Also in season
This might be the last week for cherries at the farmers market. I hope to find some of the Regina variety, my favorite — they’re large, not too sweet, and extremely crispy.
Humble Spirit is a nice spot with earnest farm-to-table vibe. I particularly liked the albacore confit, the beet salad with yogurt, and the pasta with cherry tomatoes. Bonus that it’s open Sunday and Monday.
I’ve been enjoying Blue Bottle’s New Orleans-style cold brew so much that I got a big bag of chicory and started adding it to my daily hot coffee; a tablespoon in 32g of beans amps up the richness in an interesting way. Worth a try! Note: sometimes you can find little cartons of NOLA at Target, in the cooler section.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’re inspired to buy local and eat something good.