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Occasional Deliciousness: Pickled Tomatoes

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Welcome to the third installment in a still slightly brand spankin' new feature here in the mighty Smaller Bites where we'll be featuring random somewhat uncommon foods that we think are particularly delicious and that we ALWAYS order if they are on the menu (or try to convince our dining companions to share)...and remember, we are not foodies, we just love to eat.

Dish: Pickled Tomatoes a.ka. Tomata' Pickles (but only if said with a New York accent as fast as possible)

Ethnic Origin: Jewish/kosher deli What Is It: A pickled tomato is exactly what it sounds like, but it has to be a green, standard tomato. Not cherry, not grape, not Roma. To me, it's also the MOST Jewish of all foods associated with my people. I've seen bagels in gas stations, pastrami in ballparks, black and white cookies in Publix bakery, but I have NEVER seen a pickled tomato outside of either a kosher deli, or in a jar at a supermarket with some sort of Jewish related branding/marking/wording. Also worth noting that it is the VERY first thing that I convinced Boogs to eat that she actually enjoyed. The tradition continues...

It Tastes Like: Salty, tangy heaven. It's crunchy on the outside with wonderfully seedy goo on the inside (Seedy Goo is the name of my new ska band). It's acidic, mixed with a tiny hint of sweetness leftover from before the tomato was transmogrified into this magnificent delicacy. Best We've Ever Had: The pickled tomato takes me back to my earliest family memories of eating deli at some much older family members house (oddly, usually after some sort of death-related activity; funeral, unveiling of a stone, etc. Jews will find ANY excuse to eat). And you had to fight for these gems. If you were lucky, there was a tin of all sorts of pickles: sours, dills, half-sours, etc, but if they were all gone, you were left to steal them from the top of the tuna fish or egg salad when no one was looking. Some people use olives to garnish, apparently we used tomata' pickles. Anyway, so the best I've ever had was pretty much anywhere it showed up at these family gatherings. Most likely from Ben's Delicatessen on Long Island, but honestly, could have been from any kosher or kosher-style deli. Where To Get It Local: There's a pickle guy at the Pine Ridge/Airport farmer's market that has them and claims they are flown in from NY. You can also find them at Jimmy P's in the deli case, though they are not made in house. I think they are Ba-tampte ("means tasty") or Bubbie's.

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