Everyone is talking about it. As if coodrinated, all the tomatoes ripened at the same time. And suddenly we had 20 pounds of tomatoes waiting to be harvested two days ago.
We had three varieties ready: 1) Tomande – an incredibly delicious, sweet, perfectly balanced tomato, high-yielding (~15 fruits per plant), each ~1/3 pound. 2) Brandywine – touted as a prize-winner, but just average in our book. Meaty, few seeds, less flavorful than the Tomande, larger fruits, pinker. 3) Black plum – high-yielding plants, smallish fruits of a deep purple, crimson color, mild flavor.
I had one day to use the majority of the tomatoes. The plan:
For the gazpacho, see the previous post. We had more cucumbers, so how could I resist? (We had more cucumbers, which I’m currently pickling, so in a few weeks I’ll be able to tell you how the pickling worked out.)
I’ve been disappointed in the quality of tomato soup recipes I’ve found (if you’ve got a good one, please let me know!). This one is a new concoction, and a rising favorite. Try it out and let me know how it works for you.
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
4-5 medium tomatoes, chopped (peeled if desired)
2 carrots, 1/4 inch diced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
2.5-3 cups chicken stock
Heat 2 Tbs olive oil over medium heat in heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent, but not colored. Add corn, carrots, cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, and cook 2 more minutes. Add stock to cover the vegetables by 1/4 inch. Season as necessary and simmer soup until carrots are tender, but not mushy. Puree mixture in batches in food processor. Return to soup pot and bring back to simmer. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve hot. (I had mine with more tomatoes on toast, topped with anchovies. I love anchovies).
Tomato Chips (Adapted from Amy Goldman, Heirloom Tomatoes)
The Heirloom Tomato book shown above is brilliant, showing the infinite varieties of tomatoes in stunning photos. And some of the recipes aren’t bad. These are essentially oven-dried tomatoes, but I could eat them all day. Get asmany different kinds of tomatoes as you can find. Makes the end result more interesting.
Heirloom tomatoes, different varieties
Garlic cloves, sliced in half
salt and pepper
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Lightly oil a baking tray lined with a silpat mat (not necessary if it is a nonstick tray). Lay tomatoes in a single layer and lightly oil both sides. Add garlic to tray. Liberally add salt and pepper. Cook in a 250° oven for 1 hour, then turn down the temperature to 200° and continue to cook for 4-6 hours. It always takes me longer than I expect. Once crisp and dried, eat immediately, or store in air-tight container. You’ll be shocked at the change in flavor and how different the varieties taste.
Garlic-Tomato Sauce (adapted from Gourmet)
Not scared of garlic? Me neither. I used the Tomande tomatoes for this recipe, as well as a couple Brandywines. Just to demonstrate their superiority, the Tomandes practically jumped out of their skin when I peeled them, but the Brandywines needed some coaxing. No matter the variety you choose, make sure they are sweet and perfectly ripe.
1/2 cup olive oil
3 heads (yep) of garlic, all cloves peeled and sliced in half
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 lbs tomatoes
Set a pot of water to boil. Cut an X into the bottom of each tomato. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, then transfer to ice water for 10 seconds. Then peel off the skin, cut in half vertically, squeeze out the seeds, and chop.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden, sticky, and softer, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and 1 tsp salt. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook covered for 1 hour. Season as necessary. Keeps in fridge for four days, and you can freeze some, too.
Enjoy tomato season!