One wedge is enough to push me over the edge
Andre Burgener has been immersed in all things food since she took over the making of the family's lunch box sandwiches aged eight (her mom could make a mean creme brulee and a staggering souffle, but could never butter the bread all the way to the edges.
Do you remember when all the tomatoes at our greengrocers and supermarkets were those enormous pink sort?
Big as tennis balls, 85% flavour-free, and often sporting the texture of a damp sponge.
They were bred only to be firm for transport purposes. How things have changed. The bad ones are still around, but you have a choice, and there is no excuse now to serve anything less than juicy sweet, tomatoey tomatoes.
Still, I have quite recently been offered criminally bad Caprese salads made with the palest guava- hued fruit, rigid as cucumbers.
The most depressing one - at a swanky Italian hotel restaurant - had the pale tomatoes cut in lumpen wedges. I cannot think of one instance where cutting a tomato into a wedge is successful. And an unripe wedge is unspeakable.
There is a place, of course, for unripe, or even unripe-able tomatoes: tomato curry, fried green tomatoes, and green papaya salad, for example. The following two recipes, however, are not flattering to such specimens.
These are for when you have the best, boldest and most honourable fruit in your possession: Michelin-starred, Victoria Cross-bearing, knighted and perhaps even Nobel prize-winning tomatoes.
Brown butter tomatoes
As good as it sounds, and it takes five minutes. For two: 2 large or 3 medium, sweet ripe tomatoes, of the sort you like best / 6 tablespoons unsalted butter / Maldon or other good flake salt to taste / black pepper / baguette or other good white bread.
How: slice tomatoes into 1cm-thick slices, and place, overlappingly or as single layer, on two plates. Heat butter in a thick-bottomed pan until getting nutty brown. Immediately whip off heat and pour over tomatoes.
Sprinkle with salt, and put extra salt and bread on the table. Eat pronto, while butter is still hot.
Edouard de Pomiane's tomatoes a la creme
This is one of the most famous instances of the whole being much more than the sum of its parts.
French scientist De Pomiane was greatly revered for his elegant, simple gastronomy.
Here is the recipe in his own terse words (it assumes some quantity judgment on the part of the cook): "Cut the tomatoes in two. Melt some butter in a frying pan. Add an onion finely minced. Put the tomatoes face downwards in the pan. Cook on a hot fire for five minutes. Turn. Pierce the skin with a fork. Cook for five minutes. Salt, pepper. Pour three ounces of thick cream between the tomatoes. Heat. Let the creamy sauce come to the boil. Serve".
De Pomiane might shudder, but I like it on toast.