Summertime represents different things to different people. For those of us in school, summer means freedom. Summer can mean the beach, or baseball, or even crappy action flicks. However, for those with a more culinary mindset, summer also means fresh, local tomatoes. At home, it can be tough to move past those scrumptious tomato sandwiches, but Charleston chefs have found all kinds of ways to show some love for these juicy red orbs.
Craig Deihl and the team at Cypress are featuring Wadmalaw and John's Island heirlooms in a Tomato and Cucumber Salad with pickled lemon cucumbers and local basil topped with a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil.
They're also serving local, grilled roe shrimp with sweet peaches and cream corn, tomatoes, and basil over a smoked paprika shrimp broth.
McCrady's Chef Sean Brock will offer local heirlooms served with homemade burratta and saba vinegar. If you're looking for some more local flavor in your entree, you can also try out the fresh-caught grouper accompanied by Wadmalaw corn, chanterelles, and South Carolina crawfish.
Over in J.J. Kern's kitchen at Hucks Lowcountry Table, they'll be tossing tomatoes on a little bit of everything, especially upon request, as a colorful garnish, and they're also slipping some seasonal flavor into the shrimp and grits by sautéing the shellfish with heirlooms.
Of course, if you're talking tomatoes, Italian cuisine deserves to be mentioned, Chef Robert Dibbles over at Pane e Vino has seared snapper accompanied by grilled polenta, asparagus, fresh sautéed tomatoes, capers, sherry, and a brown butter reduction. The pasta special features smoked salmon, spinach, and tomatoes of the sun-dried variety, all topped with a vodka cream sauce.
Chef Kevin Johnson at Monza will also be serving up an heirloom tomato salad with marinated tomatoes, bacon, pine nuts, and fresh arugula. Finish off your tomato fix with pizza topped with fresh tomatoes along with herbed goat cheese, arugula, and parmesan.