Lovely local tomatoes.



There is something so juxtaposed about “sweet” and “green” to describe tomatoes in the same sentence.  It is so unexpected that I had to write about it here.

I found these green-hued heirloom-like tomatoes at the local Wednesday market where they sell high quality seasonal produce.  There are plenty of tomatoes of different varieties available in the shops like E-mart in Seoul, but even with their bright matte-red coat, they don’t compare in flavor as they are often too tart and flavorless in the winter.

In contrast, these tomatoes are ultra sweet and have only a slight tart finish.  You can saute dices in a omelette or throw fresh dices in a pasta salad.  Both were in fact on the menu today for breakfast and for lunch, (kinda nice when you don’t have to work on a Thursday… but for the rest of the world) could be a great highlight to a weekend brunch or packed lunch pasta salad.

Keep in mind that these sweet green tomatoes are rather firmer than what you might expect.  That alone would in most cases dismiss these little guys as being under-ripe.  Somehow, though, this is not a bad attribute; the extra firmness helps to retain its shape through cooking. Mushy tomatoes are not exactly a pleasant texture unless it goes totally into sauce.

They are really so unexpectedly delicious that makes you think about where these little guys came from.  After doing a little research, I learned that these tomatoes are from Daejeo (in Busan) and they are just coming into season now.  In fact, there is a Daejeo Tomato Festival in early April.  Ha! Even Korea has its own tomato festival!

If you find these in an open market near you, or perhaps in a department store grocery, try them before they’re gone!  This was the pitch given to me, and I wasn’t disappointed.  They are not cheap but worth it at W10,000 for 10 small tomatoes, each about 2″ in diameter.

Tomato & Broccoli Pasta Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 4 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • about 125g short dried pasta
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs if available

Boil pasta with plenty of salted water until tender as desired, drain and set aside.  I used orecchiette with spinach today from my luggage pantry (i.e. favorite pantry items that I carry from one country to another, this one sourced from home in Toronto).

We have an awesome steamer which can steam the broccoli while the pasta is cooking underneath. Super efficient.  If you don’t have this option, steam broccoli in a separate pot until tender, then cool in ice-cold water, and drain.  Cut into bite sized pieces.

To make dressing, zest about half a lemon and squeeze the juice from the lemon half into a large bowl.  Add grated or minced garlic clove.  Slowly pour a thin stream of extra virgin olive oil while whisking until homogenous.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and fresh chopped herbs if available.

Toss the drained pasta to the dressing to fully coat.  I find this step to be much more efficient at imparting flavour to the pasta rather than sprinkling dressing all the vegetables and pasta at once.  Toss in broccoli and tomatoes, and serve.

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