'Tis the Season for Tomatoes

Billy's tomatoes are dressed for a special occasion (summer!) at Walrus and the Carpenter

When summer tomatoes are at their fragrant best, their acidic edge balanced by ripe sweetness—for what seems like a hot minute between July and September—it’s best to treat them as you would your other ripest fruits, your peaches and plums: Barely gild the lily. The Walrus and the Carpenter’s tomatoes with vanilla and olive oilis this philosophy come to life. Beginning late this month, tomatoes from Billy’s Gardens—those tasty ones at many of our local farmers markets—are dressed simply with good grassy olive oil suspending floral vanilla beans, and a whiff of good salt. Like many summer tomato plates on offer at restaurants right now, it’s deceptively simple—essentially a plate of ripe tomatoes—until you plunge in and your taste buds pick up a hint of leather and the exotic warmth of the vanilla. Nothing simple about it.