A Fruit Masquerading As A Vegetable
I must have missed the day my high school Latin class discussed fruits, or I would have known the word pomum, fruit, gave Italians part of their name for tomato: pomodoro, which means, literally, “golden apples.” I’ve never studied the Nahuatl language, but if I had, I would have easily recognized tomatl as the precursor to the Spanish word tomate. Depending on which language you’re using to eat with, you might be saying tomaat or pummarola or tamata or pomid or zwyczajny or domates—I could go on. But just don’t call it by its species name, Solanum lycopersicum or you might get a funny look.
When life gives you—let’s call them tomatoes—you make the recipe that follows, which I did yesterday. Even better the next day and the next.
And check your Bramasole Olive Oil supply! The 2022 harvest starts in October, shipping begins in November—that’s a good three and a half months before you’ll be pouring the new oil. The 2021 harvest (Gold Medal in the New York International Olive Oil Competition) is still available but we’ll probably stop selling by the end of August.
PAPPA al POMODORO
A treat of high summer, when the teepees of tomato plants are laden, pappa al pomodoro, bread with tomatoes, is the simplest of all simple soups—and definitely more than the sum of its parts. In a restaurant, I have ordered a second bowl and skipped the rest of the meal.
2 YELLOW ONIONS, FINELY CHOPPED
1 CELERY STALK AND ITS LEAVES, MINCED
1 CARROT, MINCED
3 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
8 SLICES DAY-OLD RUSTIC BREAD
3 CUPS VEGETABLE STOCK
8 to 10 TOMATOES, SEEDED AND CHOPPED
15 to 20 BASIL LEAVES, TORN
SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
Sauté the onions, celery, and carrot in the olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. When just done, place the bread on top. Add a cup of stock and bring to a boil, breaking the bread apart with forks. Simmer, and as the bread absorbs the liquid, add the remaining 2 cups of stock, the tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the deep red soup is thick and velvety.
Excerpt from The Tuscan Sun Cookbook - Frances Mayes, Edward Mayes & Steven Rothfelded