The tomato might very well be the most versatile, friendly and extraordinary food created. Raw, roasted, mashed, juiced, sliced, diced, pickled, fried... you get my drift. Right now they are in their peak of season. But don't rely on your grocer. Somehow those tomatoes just don't cut it. Find a farmers market, roadside grove stand or someone with a garden in their back yard. It is worth the search.
Here are a couple of my favorite happy tomato recipes:
Tomato Bruschetta Dip
This is a stand-by for me when I entertain although I personally could eat an entire bowl. It is fresh and so yummy. I serve it with different types of cracker breads or toasted baguette slices. The left overs are great with a poached egg too.
1 pint cherub tomatoes - or 2 cups of any firm red tomato - diced small
1 shallot diced small
3-4 stalks of heart of palm - chopped
3-4 artichoke hearts - chopped
3 Tbls capers
bunch of fresh basil - chopped or julienne
fresh parsley chopped
a good sprinkle of red pepper flakes
zest of a lemon - and one squeeze of juice
ground black pepper to taste
2 -4 good glugs of extra virgin olive oil
toss and let stand for 30 min. All of the ingredients should meet your taste - so add or leave out... experiment and have fun.
Rustic Tomato Pie
Nothing is better than pie and you already know my love of the tomato. A friend served this classic southern dish at a party alongside BBQ. It stole the show. I adapted this one from a Paula Dean recipe.
4 large tomatoes, sliced & drained
3/4 cup real mayo
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 -4 green onion chopped
fresh basil, thyme or oregano
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 pie crust, store bought, fillo or make your own. I used a JC galette recipe here.
Preheat oven to 375
Slice the tomatoes thick, sprinkle with salt and place them in a colander to drain. 10 min or so. Mix the mayo, cheese, onion and cayenne together. Roll out your crust and place on a cookie sheet. Pat your drained tomatoes and place them in the center of the crust. Top with herbs and cheese mixture. Fold the edges of the crust over the tope of the pie but not covering the pie. Crack pepper on top and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until brown and bubbly. Once out of the oven let stand for a bit and serve.
Farmer Tomato Plate
find the best tomatoes out there
add salt and pepper to taste
Perhaps the simpler the better. - you can't beat it!
A tidbit about me...
Thanks to Shari for allowing me to share some recipes with you.
I am a mother of three, a wife of one, and a zookeeper to two dogs, two guinea pigs, a turtle and our new addition, a hedgehog. Life is crazy, fun and going way too fast. I have been cooking all my life and learned most of what I know from my mother. She is a pro at a simple, elegant meal you won't forget.
To me there is nothing better than enjoying good food and fun conversation with family and friends. My secret wish is to have a Sunday meal to share every week. Haven't been able to swing that yet, but who knows?
All photos taken by Ann West