Good morning. It’s quiet in New York City this week, the traffic a little thinner than usual. There are a few more seats on the subway, also in the restaurants where we generally have to wait for a table. People seem slightly less cranky than usual, at least those who aren’t freaking out about the state of Times Square.
And, jeepers, have we got a lot of tomatoes! They’re thick in the stalls at the farmers’ market and thick on the branches of the plants we’re growing in compound buckets out back.
We had a B.L.T. for breakfast, heavy on the T. It is our no-recipe recipe for the week: two slices of thick white toast smeared with mayonnaise, with thicker slices of ripe tomatoes, a sprinkle of salt and grind of pepper, some bacon and a sheet of lettuce. We’d gladly eat the same meal for lunch, then repeat the succession every day through the end of the week, for the rest of the month.
And for dinner? Tomatoes forever. We’ll make David Tanis’s recipe for quick tomato sauce, and use it on his recipe for pasta with a little ricotta and a good pinch of dried red pepper. It’s simple cooking, just right for these late-summer nights.
Other options for midweek cooking can be found on our site and apps. To stick with the tomatoland theme, maybe David’s recipe for a cool ziti salad with tomatoes and eggplant? Or Pierre Franey’s insanely good and amazingly easy recipe for chicken breasts with tomatoes and capers (above)? He developed it back in 1991 for a column called “60-Minute Gourmet.” The recipe fits the bill and then some. Total cooking time for the dish is 20 minutes.
Got salmon? Mark Bittman’s recipe for salmon roasted in butter is astonishingly easy, and you can adapt it to virtually any herb you happen to have growing or sitting forlorn in the crisper. Slice some tomatoes to serve raw on the side, with a drizzle of olive oil and a whisper of balsamic, and a few grains of kosher salt.
No fish? Make some rice and top it with my recipe for sautéed kale (that tomato salad from the salmon would be a nice accompaniment). It’s dinner in 20 minutes, and then off to the couch for another few chapters of Martin Walker’s food-obsessed detective series about “Bruno, Chief of Police.”
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