Saturday, August 22, 2009

In Praise of Tomatoes

The tomatoes are coming fast and furious, but luckily I have lots of friends. I just gave a bag of Amish paste tomatoes to my neighbor Robin yesterday and have been supplying the birds all summer.

My favorite tomatoes have changed! Now my favorites are pineapple and speckled Roma. The pineapple is an old favorite, but the speckled Roma has definitely run up on my other old favorites. The tomato is fleshy without being grainy, turns a deep crimson red on the inside, and is the most gorgeous red with squiggled yellow and green stripes on the outside. It's a favorite for slicing as well as sauce. And in my garden this year it has been one of the most prolific.

Yeon gave me a beautiful book this year called "The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook" and I am going to share a recipe with you that I can't wait to try. It also takes advantage of tomatillos, which I happened to grow again this year (actually I stole a neighbor's plants when he moved, but he said it was OK):

Aunt Ruby's Green German Tomato Relish and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and blanched [thrown in boiling water] for 2 to 3 minutes
  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 pounds Aunt Ruby's Green German heirloom tomatoes (green zebras would also be nice). peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice.
  • 2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 c torn or julienned fresh basil leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6-8 thin diagonal baguette slices, toasted (anybody know a recipe for a gluten-free baguette?)
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese (such as Caprikorn farms chevre)
In a blender or food processor, process the tomatillos to a smooth puree. In a large nonreactive pan, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over high heat, add the tomatoes, and saute for one minute, then add the vinegar and tomatillo puree. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Reserve the tomatoes in another bowl and return the juice to the saute pan. Cook the juice over high heat to reduce to a syrup, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir the reduced juice, basil, and remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil onto the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon the relish onto the toasted baguette slices and garnish with slices of goat cheese. Serves 6-8.
On a related note, I have been wondering what to make with the papalo plant that Nancy from Chesapeake's Choice gave me earlier this year. The smell is lovely, with strong cilantro notes mixed with a more subtle curry smell. I found this recipe for salsa that I think I am going to try. I love to try new things. You probably know that already.

Papalo Salsa
  • 2 roasted and deseeded chopped chili peppers
  • 2 roasted and deseeded green peppers, chopped
  • 3 small green tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 roasted garlic cloves
  • 6 papalo leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • salt
  • 2 spoonfuls of minced onion
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and let sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

No comments: