Is it a crime to eat a tomato in March? Not if it’s grown locally without insecticides or herbicides, like these hydroponic greenhouse specimens from Washington County’s Shushan Valley Hydro Farm. They’re plump and juicy and remarkably flavorful, not to mention a much better alternative, of course, to anything shipped in from Florida or Mexico. Now through early summer is a good time to seek them out as spring’s increasing daylight means increasingly better flavor, a thought that might hold you until August, when the heirloom brigade arrives.
Pan con Tomate
2 thick slices of rustic bread or one 5-inch length of a bâtarde split lengthwise
1 clove garlic
1 large beefsteak tomato (at Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Toast or grill bread. Slice off the end of the garlic clove and (1) rub the exposed side over each slice of toast. Slice tomato in half, and (2) rub thoroughly, flesh side down, over the bread, 1 half-tomato to each slice of bread. (3) Drizzle the tomato bread with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Serves 2.