The Simple Pairing To Sweeten The Flavor In Fresh Tomatoes

Picked straight from the vine, a perfectly ripe tomato doesn't need much else — but even the most delicious morsels of juicy tomato can be elevated. While delicate flavors may taste muted when matched with the wrong ingredients, there's a way to make sure that tomatoes reach their full flavor potential. By considering their degree of sweetness and acidity, incredible pairings be made.

While sugary fruits are a great way to harmonize the astringency of an unripe and still-green bulb, a sweet (especially seasonal) nightshade instead requires a pairing that boasts greater levels of acidity. Yet, beyond a splash of citrus, there is a more creative way to amp up the vibrancy of a garden tomato. Using the classic pairing for sweet fruits like strawberries, why not match an equally saccharine tomato with a few stalks of rhubarb?

Despite the fact that rhubarb's sourness fades slightly as it's cooked to reveal a subtle sweetness, that doesn't mean that it should be reserved strictly for neutralizing super sweet treats. In fact, rhubarb actually draws attention to the tomato's honeyed nuances with its burst of much-needed astringency.

Tomatoes and rhubarb are a dynamic duo

Tomato, a fruit that's often regarded as a vegetable, can actually make a stellar pairing with rhubarb, a vegetable that's often regarded as a fruit. The reason for the success of this duo is that a too-sweet tomato lacks the sourness it needs in order to give the ingredient structure. Given this overwhelming natural sweetness and only trace amounts of acidity, pairing a ripened tomato with something tart like rhubarb is a great way to create balance and restore the very elements that make a tomato what it is.

Alongside tomato, rhubarb can be complementary in a host of savory recipes, providing just the right amount of acidity to tackle the richness of some of the most luxurious indulgences, even foie gras. However, for a more approachable way to combine rhubarb and tomato together, you might want to consider adding chunks of simmered stalks into savory tomato chutneys and jellies or tomato-based dressings like ketchup or barbecue sauce. Of course, fresh heirloom tomato salads and even roasted soups become increasingly complex with the addition of rhubarb.