Where we are in the Luberon is a sensuous landscape, with its hilltop villages, lavender fields, clear bright light and rippled blue hills, abundant fruit and vegetables. Scents and colours abound, and even the simplest of meals seems infused with its spirit. Simplicity seems extraordinarily close to hedonism when you find “harem cushion” tomatoes like these in Apt market.
The tomato salad they will make is one of the most delicious and simple dishes known to man: just sliced with onion and a handful of ripped basil, then dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It takes five minutes to assemble and then all you need is a baguette, newly baked with a light crust from your favourite boulangerie in the Rue des Marchands, to mop up all the juices. Here is a spring version, using spring onions for a touch of green instead of basil. The perfect lunch, and a taste of summer and outdoor dining to come.
That summer the house and its surroundings became ours, a time reduced in my memory to separate images and impressions: mirabelles, the tart orange plums like incandescent bulbs strung in forest green leaves, a zinc-topped table under a vine canopy; the budding grapes; the basket on the table, a large bowl; tomatoes ribbed and plump as harem cushions; thick sheets and lace secondhand from the market, and expensive new bedcovers that look as old as the rest; lemon sun in the morning pouring through open windows; our scent in the linen sheets.
From The Lantern
PS. I wouldn't normally post two days in a row, but this sits so well with Apt Market yesterday - yes, they are the very same tomatoes we bought at that stall - that I couldn't resist. This was originally part of a guest post I wrote for Lynne Rees, The Hungry Writer here.