The Smiling Chef: First Tomatoes of the Season


WORDS Brendon D’Souza

The other day we were lucky to find our first tomatoes ripening away on their bush. Over winter we had planted a couple of different varieties; mostly by accidentally/conveniently throwing rotten tomatoes into the soil. Of course our cherries from last year had popped up once again, but this year we were surprised to find a couple of gourmet tomatoes in the soil. We pulled them off while they were still slightly green (to avoid having to use pesticides) and kept them in brown paper bags with bananas to ripen.

They were honestly the sweetest tomatoes I’d ever tasted, not powdery like the ones from the supermarkets but bursting with honeyed juice. The flesh was plump and sliced like butter. They were too good to be messed around with, all they needed was a simple dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and plenty of salt. I grilled up some bread and we tucked into a hearty, home-made tomato bruschetta. I’m not really going to specify exact amounts for this dish. I want you to use your taste buds and experiment with the amount of oil and vinegar you use. The dressing should lightly coat the tomatoes, especially since they’re this fresh: you want to taste them. The pepper is optional, I like the little kick it gives the tomatoes.


  • 6 medium, ripe tomatoes (feel free to use your imagination, if you have your own, use them)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper (optional)
  • Basil leaves
  • Grilled bread slices to serve


Slice the tomatoes into 1cm rounds. Lay them on a plate, slightly overlapping each other. Dress the tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your taste and sprinkle with at least 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes to really bring out the juices. Top with the basil leaves.

Allow the tomatoes to marinate in the juices for about 5 minutes before serving with bread.

Happy Cooking and Keep Smiling,

Brendon :)