Here is a humble breakfast of left over sake and miso marinated salmon with ochazuke, fresh and pickled vegetables. It is transformed into something very special with the addition of sliced Purple Cherokee heirloom tomatoes. So delicious. So much umami.
Umami is probably the most difficult taste to describe. You can only know it if you have tasted it. No where have I found its presence more than in a summer tomato. Here it is intense enough to stand out above the other tastes. Umami is a difficult taste to discern because it is usually in the background, hidden by other tastes like salty, sweet, and sour.
Not all tomatoes have the same umami punch. These Purple Cherokee heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market have loads of it. They were grown in Riverside County, California. In my neck of the woods, just four miles inland from the beach at Corona Del Mar, Brandywine and Momotaro have given me the most umami. Sadly, this year my garden stands neglected and I am buying my tomatoes.