For a long time we have been arguing that some of the best tomatoes are grown in the cooler months. Every year, this conviction is reaffirmed as soon as we taste the first ones coming into season in late January. The small, ribbed Marinda tomatoes grown in Sicily are one of these winter and spring varieties, and arguably one of the most interesting tomato varieties currently grown in the world.
The particularity and uniqueness of these tomatoes lie first and foremost in their flavour, which is developed in the unique soil of Sicily. The fields lie close to the sea and the soil is nurtured with salty sea water; in turn the tomatoes develop a savoury, almost meaty flavour that is truly magical – umami is possibly the best way to define it.
The texture of Marinda is nothing short of fantastic too. Firm and crunchy, it adds a phenomenal quality when eating them raw. Their colour is also very particular (and beautiful), having a deep, dark green head, which leads to the orange then red. The dark green head is a sign of superior quality, as well as the green jelly enclosing the seeds – over-ripening of these tomatoes must be avoided. This is why they are grown in the winter and spring months, when the sun is less harsh and yet plenty, allowing the tomatoes to ripen slowly and gently while developing their flavour to full potential.
Purists would argue the best way to enjoy Marinda is raw, in order to really enjoy their crisp bite and savoury notes. Simply cut them into wedges, sprinkle with excellent flaky sea salt, and drizzle some quality extra virgin olive oil.