This is not a grocery story or a place to stop once a week and pick up a few aspirin, six pounds of hamburger and some frozen food. Public markets are really about impulse purchases. You tasted some incredible Italian sausage so you head to the market, but then you see some tomatoes or taste some cheese and say ‘Gosh, this is really incredible cheese, and it’s made by a local farmer so give me a pound of that.’ That’s what happens.”
– Einar Tangen, Business Leader, Milwaukee
Buenos Aires – I was wandering the Belgrano food market just looking for something inspiring for the various dinners coming up this weekend, and in particular for some squash flowers for one of the Mexican dishes. I didn’t find the latter, everyone saying there were just too few on the market right now and they didn’t have any. But I did come across a crate of these tomatinos, as they were marked. The vegetable seller said they’re a small Italian variety of tomatoes. I don’t know enough about tomato varieties to verify his claim – a rough google search popped up with pictures that look similar of a variety called tigerella that I gather is a cross developed in England. But they don’t look exactly the same. Perhaps someone out there knows? Either way, they’ve got a very intense, slightly sweet tomato flavor, very smooth. They’re small, ranging from cherry tomato size to a little smaller than a golf ball. I picked up a half kilo to play with. Last night we had them tossed with some fresh pesto and goat cheese in pasta. They’re almost too sweet for that, even though it was good. I think maybe just simply dressed as a tomato salad. Either way, I’m hoping they weren’t stored in a way that killed off the seeds – I’m saving a bunch to plant and see what happens. There was also a fruit stand on the other side of the market that had just gotten in a case of fresh litchis – grown here! Who knew? I grabbed a bunch for dessert for tonight’s private party… look for them atop homemade dulce de leche gelato in tomorrow’s writeup.
Although I never found my squash flowers, one of my local verdulerías tracked some down for me and ordered a kilo for me for the weekend – took him some work to find them too – but he just became my favorite neighborhood vegetable seller!