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Most of the tomatoes bought in the UK have, until quite recently, been imported – and they can vary from being pretty good to tasteless. Our home growers seem to be getting more enthusiastic these days, though, and are producing some great fruits including some unusual forgotten heritage varieties. This gives us tomato lovers great scope to create some simple late-summer tomato recipes. When you have a lovely ingredient like a tomato, you really don't need to do too much to it initially, except dress it with a good oil and vinegar, or add another simple ingredient, such as basil.
This salad is simple and light, comprising ripe, sweet, summer dates pinned down with the slightly salty flavour of the Parma ham. Heritage tomatoes are not difficult to find these days and the basil here I have seemed to grow very easily this year in my garden at home. You don't have to use either these tomatoes or the basil – but do make sure the ingredients are ripe.
Carolyn Hart selects eight chefs' favourites to start growing now