Tomato season is in full swing, and I picked up a box of my favorite brand of tomatoes (Amela) for about half what they normally go for today. I love this brand because it has a sugar content comparable to ripe peaches and a concentrated flavor that tastes like sun-dried tomatoes. I usually toss them with some olive oil and salt and call it a day, but I found myself wondering if there was a way to coax even more flavor out of them.
Goma-ae literally means "paired with sesame," and it's a popular way to season vegetables in Japan. The nutty toasted sesame pairs beautifully with green vegetables such as green beans, spinach, and broccoli, and it's a popular side dish here in Japan. It works so well because it adds depth to the flat flavor profile of most greens, but I've always wondered what it could do for something more flavorful.
As it turns out, it works REALLY well. The contrast of the sweet juicy tomatoes with the earthy sesame is an unexpected combination that's equal parts thrilling and comforting.
While it's not mandatory, peeling the tomatoes makes them easier to eat and creates more surface area for the sesame to adhere to, so I highly recommend taking the extra step. Also, tomatoes vary in juiciness, so you may need to add some extra salt after tasting them.
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