The tomato is botanically the fruit of Solanum lycopersicum, although from a culinary point of view it is a vegetable.
It belongs to the deadly nightshade family as does the potato.
The tomato plant originated in the Andes in South America and tomatl was the name in the Nahuatl language give to it by the Aztec people, which then became tomate and then tomato in English.
The tomato was brought over to Europe by the Conquistadors in the late 15th Century.
The original fruits were yellow hence the Italian name pomodoro (pomo d’oro – apple of gold).
When the Italian princess, who became Queen Bona of Poland on her marriage to King Zygmunt the Old, came to Poland with her chefs in the 16th Century , the tomato was introduced to the Polish diet.
Tomato in Polish is pomidor – so you can see or rather hear its Italian root.
Home grown tomatoes are of course the best, however here in the North of England I have not had much success in growing them outdoors.
To get the best flavour from tomatoes it is best NOT to keep them in the refrigerator.
A simple tomato salad is served in Poland, always it seemed to me with the addition of onions, chives or the green part of spring onion. For many it is standard fare for breakfast with cold meats or Polish curd cheese.
Tomatoes – thinly sliced into whole rounds if small or halved if large.
Half an onion – finely chopped or
Chives or the green part of spring onions – finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the tomato slices on a plate
Squeeze a little lemon juice over them
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over them
Garnish with onion or chives