Added: Tue. Dec 11, 2012 9:42am
How abundant is this God-given fruit! Yet, because of it's savory flavor, rather than sweet, we treat it like a vegetable. When I look at a pomodoro (tomato), I ask, "Is this for an insalata (salad) or for salsa (sauce). The salsa type of tomato is used to make sauces; the classic Italian sauce tomato is the San Marzano tomato, an heirloom tomato grown on the flanks of Mount Vesuvius. An Italian sauce tomato should be ripe, an explosive red, rich, and slightly sweet, too.
The insalata tomato is a salad tomato. There are many Italian heirloom breeds of salad tomatoes, and if you visit a local market you may find something more distinctive, for example, the Tuscan Costoluto tomato or the Sicilian Pachino tomato, which is a cherry tomato. I use the Pachino tomato as an addition on a pizza, but my favorite is to add them raw to my pasta and pesto sauce. Select these pomodoro not-too-ripe, quite firm, with streaks of green running through them. Their lively acid complements the flavor of the greens in the insalata.
My Cousin, Caramela, just returned from Italia and shared this simple recipe, Triglie alla Livornese, with me. One of the characteristics of Livornese cuisine is the use of red wine with fish dishes. Until recently, this area did not grow white grapes or make white wine. If you were going to use local ingredients, try a Bolgheri red and a Suvereto olive oil. Now this is what I call "happy food!"