Pass the tomatoes please
Published 7:45 am Thursday, June 9, 2022
This morning I drove over to Anderson’s Farm Market for one more fern (now on sale) for the front porch. Then I perused the fresh produce and came home with a head of cabbage and a quart of yellow squash for supper plus the fern.
I wasn’t so sure about the tomatoes, they just didn’t look homegrown. I’m sure that somewhere down in Mississippi folks are enjoying the pleasure already.
DW reports a few small tomatoes on our vines but he’s hopeful that some will be ready by The Fourth. Me too. He has planted his usual Jet Star and Early Girl, Beef Steak, Sun Gold and Cherokee Purple. I am by no means going to tell anyone how to grow tomatoes. There are experts and experienced gardeners and a whole lot of conversation on that subject.
I just want to put some on the table. They complement anything that comes off the grill during the summer or with other veggies from the garden. Never discount a side of fresh thick sliced tomatoes with any meal. It doesn’t matter if you count a side of tomatoes as a fruit or a vegetable just count them in for summer meals. If you think about it, most of our usual sides for grilling are starchy.
Baked beans, potato salad, boiled new potatoes, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, chips and Texas toast are sure tasty but all starches and definitely not low-carb. So, it’s always nice to have a refreshing (and fat free) side to enjoy. Fresh tomatoes can round out your summer menu any day, well any day after the 4th it seems.
Here’s a tasty tomato recipe you might like to go with whatever you’re cooking on the grill. The B²LT salad hits the spot with fresh basil and leafy green lettuce tossed in; and we like it better with a very lightly flavored olive oil, but that’s your call. You don’t need a recipe to add a few halves of red or yellow cherry tomatoes to your corn salad. After cutting them, pat them dry with paper towels so they won’t leak in the salad.
The flavor of tomatoes plus cheese is one of my most favorite taste combinations especially with a light touch of olive oil, a good cheese (never processed cheese please) and freshly ground black pepper. Try grilled tomatoes with grilled corn, boiled new potatoes and a pot of fresh peas. And for the best grilled corn to go with the very best fresh tomatoes: remove any dried or dirty shucks and dangling silks; soak the unshucked ears covered in salted water in a dish pan (about 1 – 2 tablespoons of salt to 3-4 gallons of water, depending on how many ears you have) for at least 2 hours. Remove the ears from the water and place on a medium hot grill for about 30 minutes, rotating the ears every 10 minutes or so. Remove from the grill, let cool slightly then remove the shuck and silks. Serve with fresh tomatoes for sure!
I can just taste it. Let me count…how many days until the 4th?
Recipes of the Week
B for bacon and basil for a just right flavor combination
Leafy Lettuce, about 1 cup torn into bite size pieces
5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
6 slices applewood smoked bacon, crisp and crumbled
⅓ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup lightly flavored olive oil
Place lettuce in serving bowl. Toss in tomatoes, bacon and basil. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, seasonings, oil, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour dressing over the tomato mixture, tossing to coat. Garnish with more basil sprigs. Serve with anything from the grill!
Broiled or Grilled Fresh Tomatoes
4 large tomatoes, fresh but firm
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
½ cup Parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
OR: Extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces blue cheese, Gorgonzola or other aged cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
Ground black pepper to taste
Preheat broiler or grill. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet for the oven or a large piece of heavy-duty foil for the grill. Slice tomatoes in nice thick slices or cut in half. Place slices or halves on pan or foil, lightly brush with oil, then sprinkle with choice of cheese (or omit cheese totally). Broil about 5 inches from the heat until golden on top and thoroughly heated. Or close grill and grill tomatoes for about 5 minutes, just long enough to bake the tomatoes and melt the cheese.