Once I peel back the calendar page, transitioning from July to August, visions of ripe tomatoes and al fresco meals domino into my brain. Heirloom tomatoes with avocado, balsamic, green olive oil and freshly (bought) bread will suffice for many a dinner. Tiny sweet orange cherry tomatoes will be on the counter, at the ready for the perfect snack. This variation of hummus highlights the bounty and flexibility that is a summer tomato. The smell of them cooking with olive oil and garlic is a scent that can only be described as true comfort. It takes me back to evenings in the Tuscan countryside, a carafe of house red wine (always delicious and a great bargain) and a steaming plate of fresh pasta with bright tomato sauce.
2 cups tomatoes, ripe and of any variety; I used cherry tomatoes
1 shallot, sliced 1/2”
2 cloves garlic, smashed but not chopped
1-teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil + 3 tablespoons
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Juice from half a lemon
1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2-tablespoons fresh herbs, such as basil, chives or oregano
1) If using cherry tomatoes, slice in half. If using another variety, cut into small chunks.
2) Heat a skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add tomatoes, shallot, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, until tomato skins have shriveled and the juices become thick.
3) Add tomato mixture, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 1/4-cup olive oil, tomato paste, lemon juice and garbanzo beans to a blender. Whirl until the hummus consistency is smooth. Taste; adjust salt/pepper as needed.
4) Pour into a container and refrigerate until cool, about 4 hours. Serve in a bowl garnished with chopped fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of large flake salt. Serve alongside sweet potato chips, sugar snap pees and cucumber slices.