After scooping some ice cream into a bowl, I dropped in a few Sungolds, on the verge of bursting, and what stray leaves were left from my withering basil plant. It was the perfect complement to the olive oil’s grassy salinity, the Sungolds’ slightly sweet acidity balancing the velvety fat of the frozen dairy.
I experimented with more ice cream flavors: Tomatoes were a natural counterbalance to tangy, savory flavors like mascarpone or corn. Van Leeuwen’s blueberry shortcake, with a sweet-cream base, also did the trick, as did the sour cream canned-peaches flavor from Morgenstern’s.
It’s not actually as strange as it might sound at first. The case has already been made for unorthodox toppings like bacon and sea salt. Dipping french fries into a Frosty is practically a rite of passage. Savory ice cream bases — wasabi, avocado, pickle, even mac and cheese — are polarizing but generally accepted as part of the flavor landscape today. Tomatoes as a topping are practically a foregone conclusion.
If you can’t find Sungolds, then your basic cherry tomato or an orangey heirloom would suffice. And if you are an enterprising human being with time to spare, I suppose you could cook tomatoes down into a jam first, which I’d wager would go over swimmingly. But I don’t have time to spare. Tomatoes on ice cream is a fleeting treat for these final days of summer.
— Elissa Suh
Elissa Suh is a writer and editor based in New York. She publishes the Moviepudding newsletter, dedicated to exploring the intersections of food and film.
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