Wednesday, July 27, 2005

And now, tomatoes

Alissa's going to have even more of these than peppers, and I'm obsessed with vine-ripe, farmer's market tomatoes. Here are some recipes.


Provencal Stuffed Tomatoes
(Recipe courtesy Maria Sinskey)

8 (1 by 1-inch) bread cubes
8 medium-small ripe red or yellow tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup pitted, sliced kalamata or nicoise olives
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange the bread cubes on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the oven, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Increase the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the cores from the top of the tomatoes and cut the top off the tomato 1/4 of the way down. Reserve the tops. Slice enough of the bottom off each tomato, so it stands up, but don't cut through to the seed. (If you cut too deep, patch the hole with the piece you have just sliced off, by placing it in the bottom after you've hollowed it out.)
Using a melon baller, carefully scoop the inside of the tomatoes out, taking care not to penetrate the sides and create holes. Collect the balls of pulp and chop coarsely. Press the juice and seeds through a strainer. Add the strained juice to the chopped pulp.
In a bowl, mix together the tomato pulp, Parmesan, olives, olive oil, parsley, basil, oregano, and garlic. Toss with the bread cubes and season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture sit until the bread cubes have soaked up most of the moisture.
Season the interior of each tomato with salt and black pepper. Stuff each tomato with 1 bread cube and as much as herb olive mixture that you can pack in. Top with the reserved tomato tops and stick a toothpick through the center of the top to keep it from sliding off while it bakes. Place the stuffed tomatoes in a roasting pan that has been drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle the tops of tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until bubbling and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil
(Recipe courtesy Scott Conannt, copyright 2004)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
20 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1-ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, (about 2 tablespoons)

In a wide pan over medium-high heat, heat 1/3 cup of olive oil until quite hot. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and season lightly with the salt and pepper. (I always start with a light hand with the salt and pepper because as the tomatoes reduce, the salt will become concentrated.) Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes finely. (This will be easier to do as the tomatoes begin to heat up.) Cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, stack and roll the basil leaves into a cylinder and cut thinly crosswise into a chiffonade.
Bring a large pot of amply salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat, gently tossing the pasta and the sauce together with a couple of wooden spoons and a lot of exaggerated movement (you can even shake the pan) until the pasta is just tender and the sauce, if any oil had separated from it, now looks cohesive. (If the sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta cooking liquid to adjust it.) Take the pan off of the heat and toss the butter, basil and cheese with the pasta in the same manner (the pasta should take on an orange hue) and serve immediately.

Cook's Note: Here is a good tip for peeling and seeding tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a small shallow X on the bottom of each tomato. Ease about 5 tomatoes into the pot and cook for about 15 seconds, and then promptly move them to the ice water. (Do this with the remaining tomatoes.) Pull off the skin with the tip of a paring knife. If the skin sticks, try a vegetable peeler using a gentle sawing motion. Cut the tomatoes in half and use your finger to flick out the seeds.

Tomato "Carpaccio" with Arugula and Herb Salad
(Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello)

For the vinaigrette, use whatever herbs you like, but I recommend a mixture of 50 percent basil or parsley. The vinaigrette can be prepped but not assembled ahead of time, since it does not benefit from a long maceration period.
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 cups red and/or yellow tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 to 3 tomatoes)
5 ounces Sweet 100 tomatoes, cut ½, 1 cup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

10 large red and/or yellow tomatoes, about 8 ounces each, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces (about 6 cups) fresh baby arugula
2-ounce chunk Parmesan

For the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, shallots, and garlic. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Add the chopped herbs. Stir in the diced tomatoes and Sweet 100's and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble: On a round platter, arrange the sliced tomatoes in concentric circles, slightly overlapping the slices and alternating colors if using both red and yellow tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the tomatoes from the vinaigrette over the sliced tomatoes, leaving some of the vinaigrette in the bowl. Toss the arugula in the bowl with the remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the arugula in the middle of the platter. Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin slices of Parmesan over the tomatoes and arugula. Pass freshly ground black pepper. Serve at room temperature.


Alissa said...

thanks for all the tomato and pepper recipes.

I have a problem, though. It looks like a lot of my tomatoes are coming in with split skins. Which, I know, is due to my inconsistent watering. Apparently you need to make sure they recieve approximately the same amount of water all the time or else they get split skins. But honestly, sometimes it rains a lot, andn sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes I forget to keep track of when they were watered last, and sometimes it was just too darn hot to drag the hose out. But now all of my tomatoes (well, not ALL) have split skins. Can you just cut that part off, or does it ruin the whole tomato?

shannon said...

I'm not a farmer, but I think they'd be fine if you just cut off that part...

cabbage said...

Hello shannon
And G'day from Downunder. I was hunting around the web for stuff on rice when I came across And now, tomatoes. It's just amazing what these searches turn up. I'm not sure I'm finding what I need, but I'm having a lot of fun. Have a great day!

asparagus said...

Well, I've enjoyed my visit to And now, tomatoes, but I'm not sure it's what I was looking for. I was actually searching for articles on how to cook cabbage - these search engines are weird! Just thought I'd say hello while I'm here :0)