Thanks to tuna − the ‘prince’ of summer foods, with its fresh store of vitamins − we shall be better placed to meet the demands of hectic city life on our return from our vacations.
Tomato sauce; toasted bread pieces seasoned with tomato, garlic, olive oil and salt; ‘frisella’ rusk bread with tomato; salad with tomatoes; pizza margherita; mozzarella cheese and tomato; gazpacho cold tomato soup; tomatoes in olive oil; tomato in bread soup; tomato au gratin; rice with tomato...
Tomato varieties and recipes
At fruit and vegetable stores, in supermarkets and at the street markets with growers who sell their own produce (more and more popular these days), very many tomato varieties are available (more than 300). Each variety has its special taste and size and consistency, as an ideal ingredient in any number of dishes.
The most famous type is the small round Pachino, which is excellent for rice salads and toasted bread pieces seasoned with garlic, olive oil and salt; the large juicy Beefsteak Tomato is ideal for salads; the Piccadilly is oval and excellent for cold summer meals; the San Marzano is an elongated variety, with a very sweet flesh (it has always been used in the form of peeled tomatoes, for sauces); then comes the smooth Insalataro (or salad) tomato, which is perfect, raw, for Capri-style salads as well as oven baked and stuffed.
Let us turn to the very many colors. For example, the yellow cherry tomatoes, with a sourish taste, to green tomatoes, not to be mistaken for unripe tomatoes (this rather special variety is often used in compote dishes); then we have the very sweet datterini arancioni (a date-like orange-ish variety) and even a black tomato with an abundance of vegetable pigments, endowed with marked anti-tumoral actions.
Very low on calories, but with a wealth of other properties
Slimmers will be aware that fresh tomatoes are more than 90% water. Fresh tomatoes are also markedly endowed with diuretic action (good for tackling water retention), and the calorie content is very low (barely 17 calories in 100 grams).
Conversely, the mineral salts and vitamins content is very high indeed. Tomatoes will give you all the vitamin C you will ever need! Vitamin C ensures correct functioning of the immune system. Not to mention B group vitamins, vitamins D and E (alpha-tocopherol), potassium and phosphorus.
Tomatoes are beneficial not only in terms of the vitamins and minerals they bring with them. They are also endowed with antioxidant actions (thanks to exceptionally high levels of lycopene). The carotenoid, seen in the bright red of tomatoes, acts as an extremely potent naturally occurring antioxidant, capable of combatting cellular aging and blocking formation of free radicals. In human health terms, we may note a lower risk of degenerative diseases and tumors (particularly of the prostate gland and lungs).
Fresh tomatoes in the summer… and when else?
The tomato is a seasonal specialty. While it ripens during the summer, this does not mean that, as the fall draws in, we have to do without tomatoes! What would we do without the tomato’s unique taste and its key properties?