We went down to Bari last week to visit Domenico’s mom and spend a few days at the beach. After two full days of sun, we woke up to rain on Saturday. While part of me was sad we couldn’t go to the beach again, another part was kind of happy I’d get a chance to go to the market.
I love going to the market in Bari. It’s located in this weird sort of nothing neighborhood, on the ground floor of a parking garage. Like much new architecture in Bari, absolutely no urban planning went into this. Which has a charm all it’s own, of course. It’s really Bari.
One of the reasons I love going to the market here is not only because all things vegetal just taste more intense from Puglia, but there are things that never even make it up as far north as Rome.
My favorite stand by far is the tomato stand. This is a stand that has tomatoes all year long. But if you’re thinking hot house tomatoes, or imported tomatoes, you’d be wrong. Even in the deepest, darkest week of winter they always have ‘winter’ tomatoes which are grown in the summer, then threaded and hung up on strings. They look like cherry tomatoes but have a much thicker skin. (If you remember I saw some traveling Pugliese stringing them at Slowfood‘s Salone del Gusto last October)
But since this was July – the peak of tomato season – it was a sort of red heaven. I counted at least eight different varieties. Sweet, not so sweet, for sauce, for salad. Tomato-mania.
It was also cucumber season, which was the only hint of green at the stand. Yet again, these cukes were typically pugliese. Short, fat and stubby, there were not only cetrioli dolce (which are more or less like normal cucumbers) but also caroselli and cucumarazzi which tend to be eaten after a meal, sort of like fruit. They taste more or less like a not-so-sweet melon. But in a good, really fresh, way.
We stocked up big time, getting a kilo each of almost every variety of cuke and tomato to bring back to Rome.
I was all set to include a recipe with this post. But I get real lazy in the kitchen come summer. Which made me appreciate my Bari bounty all the more. Cut up, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, we’ve been eating tomatoes and cucumbers all week long. Is that enough of a recipe for you?