In season: July

tomato kimAh July. Halfway through the year when New Year’s resolutions are a mere distant memory, but the sun shines bright to make us all happy despite our failings (well, in theory). The World Cup, the Tour de France, Bastille Day just around the corner… but way better than that, it’s finally tomato o’clock. Finally.

Forget the insipid offerings that insult the market stalls and supermarket shelves for the early months of the year, now the real red darlings have arrived. You can smell the greenhouse goodness just by smelling them, and the taste just has ‘garden’ striped through it like a stick of round, juicy rock. Seriously, I’m that excited. In fact, I probably won’t eat anything else for the next few months.

Only kidding, I’d be an utter fool to go that far given the vast array of wonderful seasonal produce on offer this month, with the fruit contingent really beginning to muscle in for once. Here’s a list of what’s good to stuff your kitchen with at the moment. Spoiled for choice? Oh aye (nod to Yorkshire there, given the le Tour and all). Never did a month spell ‘picnic’ like ‘July’ (if you tweak the letters a bit, obviously).

Apricot – abricot
Artichoke – artichaut
Aubergine
Beetroot – betterave
Broccoli
Cherry – cerise
Chicory – endive
Courgette
Cucumber – concombre
Fennel – fenouil
Green beans – haricots verts
Greengages – reine claude
Lettuce – laitue
Nectarine
Peach – pêche
Radish – radis
Raspberries – framboises
Rocket – roquette
Spinach – epinard
Strawberries – fraises
Swiss Chard – bette
Tomato – tomate
Watercress – cresson

And what’s the best thing to do with the pick of the mix, the humble tomato? The opportunities are endless, but sliced up, drizzled with olive oil and scattered with salt, pepper and basil is the greatest hommage you could give. Enjoy! (I’ll expect my picnic invitation in the post toute suite….)

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