This is the time of year people like me start to short-circuit. Just last week, we were waiting for corn and tomatoes, languishing in the world of late greens, spring onions and trusty squashes. Then the sweet corn picking began, and the first trickle of tomatoes showed up at the farmers’ market on Saturday. Suddenly my kitchen counter is laminated in vegetables and my refrigerator is so full that we’re moving condiments to the basement.

So I’ve done what any over-stimulated cook would do: I’ve organized everything by color. (This isn’t as crazy as it sounds; remember last week’s column when Chef Doucette at the Covington suggested pairing ingredients both by color and by when they are harvested?)

Susie Middleton


On Friday, a sea of purple washed over me when I walked through the swinging doors of the Morning Glory farm stand: purple peppers, Fairy Tale eggplants, Asian eggplants, purple-and-white-striped Graffiti eggplants, torpedo onions, purple-skinned garlic, red cabbage. The color was so stunning that I had to have some of each.

On Saturday, the tomatoes I wound up picking up from North Tabor Farm and Ghost Island Farm were all yellow. Some were beefsteaks, some were yellow plums, some were small sandwich tomatoes, but all were in yellow shades ranging from lemon-peel to the rosy hue of black-eyed Susan petals. Many of these tomatoes are varieties perfected for high-tunnel growing. They deliver the low-acid, slightly floral flavor typical of yellow tomatoes, with a range of textures.

While I was at Morning Glory, I had also spied yellow peaches from Carlson Orchards in Harvard. I grew up eating a variety of white peach in Delaware called Brilliant, and it was so juicy and fragile that it could not be transported at all. We got them right at the orchard, and that experience has made peach eating a trial for me in adulthood. I rarely buy peaches that are shipped from afar as they are picked too early to ever truly ripen and they don’t taste like much. (The exception may be the high-dollar peaches from Goldbud Farms, which are shipped overnight after picking. Last year, North Tisbury Farm and Market carried them.

But these yellow peaches from Carlson smelled like peaches (never, ever buy stone fruit that doesn’t have at least a bit of fragrance) and felt just this side of ripe. I bought three.
At home my peaches and yellow tomatoes started hanging out together. And then there was that fresh corn I had picked up, too. Once I realized I also had a yellow pepper in the fridge, a yellow salad started to compose itself.

But there was a moment of tomato tension in the kitchen. As much as I wanted a fresh tomato salad — the first of the summer, something beautiful and cool and inviting — there was something else I craved: roasted tomatoes. Dark and richly flavorful with enough umami to rival bacon, roasted tomatoes are pretty much a desert-Island ingredient for me. This is no secret, I realize; I’ve been prattling on about roasted tomatoes and devising different ways to make them for years.

The tension broke when I remembered that I had a disk of tart dough in the freezer. If I made just a small batch of quick-roasted tomatoes (a great technique for plum or sandwich tomatoes), I’d then have the makings of a roasted tomato tart, which is one of the best things ever. Seriously. I made these tarts all over the place when I was doing publicity for my book, Fresh from the Farm, and I used them to lure people into my lair. Why not take my own bait?

And I had just enough time over the weekend to make the yellow tomato and peach salad (which is really a variation on a “gazpacho” salad I created long ago) and to make the roasted tomato tart, too. (I did, however, run out of time to make the barbecued chicken I had planned for Sunday night. This is something that happens occasionally and not entirely accidentally here in the home of the veggie-loving former vegetarian.)