It’s tomato time in Florida, and restaurants are showcasing them at the peak of growing season
It’s an age-old question that’ll probably be asked for years to come, flummoxing school kids and even some adults: Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
Why does that question endure? No one’s hashing over other vegetables classified botanically as fruits.
That’s because we’re talking about tomatoes, which in
Palm Beach as elsewhere star in scads of everyday favorite dishes — from caprese salad and bright salsas, to gazpacho, the classic BLT and even kicky fra diavolo pastas.
Tomatoes epitomize perfection all on their own, perhaps via a garden-warm slice of one sprinkled with olive oil and coarse sea salt.
But more to the point, now’s tomato time: To the envy of northerners who won’t see a blush on the vine until summer, it’s peak tomato growing season for Florida’s bounteous monthslong crop.
“We love spring as much as the next person, but tomatoes are the real reason for this sunny season here,” says Sebastien Tribout, Meat Market’s director of operations. “These jewels of the vine have so much to give in terms of flavor and we love to work with them as much as possible with our local farmers.”
Meat Market, 191 Bradley Place, is celebrating tomatoes — a “particularly good example” of the “bright and colorful” essence of spring, Tribout says — in new dishes.
Among them: cherry tomato, beet and ricotta salad with hazelnuts, basil oil and balsamic.
Meat Market is among several eateries in town incorporating tomatoes into a number of dishes, hot and cold and inbetween.
Since joining the Four Seasons’ Jove Kitchen & Bar earlier this season, chef Florenzo Barbieri has enjoyed, among other things, working with Florida’s bountiful tomatoes.