On Epicurious: Maida Yellow Tomatoes Pantry Heroes

“Want a Faster, Sweeter Tomato Sauce? Use These”, word of Anna Hezel, senior editor for Epicurious. Hezel was on a quest for the best canned pomodoro giallo in town, triggered by a yellow tomato craze that is taking over American kitchens.

These juicy golden tomatoes are heroes of the pantry. Keep a few cans around, and you’ll always only be a couple minutes away from sunny late-summer flavor—even in the depths of winter.

When Hezel got in touch to get our perspective on why chefs and home cooks are starting to stock up on yellow tomatoes, we immediately called farmer Francesco Vastola, our tomato expert at his Maida farm in Cilento.

Gustiamo, a Bronx-based importer of Italian ingredients, sells both a yellow tomato passata and yellow cherry tomatoes from a brand called Maida. […] both are farmed by Francesco Vastola in Cilento, 80 miles south of Naples. Because the cherry tomatoes have such a delicate mineral taste, Vastola likes to pair the yellow cherry tomatoes with prawns or clams.

The secret to yellow tomatoes, farmer Francesco tells us, is cooking them for no longer than 5 or 6 minutes. With that in mind, you can do anything with these extra sweet golden gems of Cilento. Anna Hezel confirms, after briefly poaching a fillet of salmon in yellow tomato sauce, inspired by her talk with our amico Rick Easton.

At Bread and Salt, Easton sells two types of canned yellow tomatoes and has used them on the occasional pizza or sandwich. Because of their delicate, sweet flavor, he likes pairing yellow tomatoes with fish, or barely cooking them before adding to a pasta.

Maida yellow tomatoes, of course. But Rick is not the only one taking his tomato pantry to the next level with pomodori gialli. Hezel quotes two more Gusti chefs in her Epicurious article, Farina’s Tony Pisaniello and Razza’s Dan Richer.

The stark contrast between canned yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes also makes them fun to mix and match as toppings for pizza or foccacia. At Farina in Brooklyn, chef Tony Pisaniello combines a Corbarino yellow tomato with San Marzanos and little red pachino cherry tomatoes for his marinara ai tre pomodori. Similarly, at Razza in Jersey City, Dan Richer swirls together canned Gustarosso red tomatoes and Maida yellow cherry tomatoes for his tomato pie.

Maida yellow tomatoes belong to two heirloom varieties local to Cilento, where Francesco grows them and preserves them himself. It’s no surprise that they have such a cult following: they pack a great balance between sweetness and savoriness, with a strikingly low acidity. Grazie Anna for your bellissimo article and for naming yellow tomatoes Heroes of the Pantry!