Tomato Time

These few weeks are a total cornucopia for us foodies. Summer produce is at its very peak, and fall produce is making its first appearance. Tomatoes are still king, but the squashes are gaining momentum! In fact, I have a butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash sitting on my countertop. But I can’t quit tomatoes just yet!

Below, I present three tomato recipes made with farmers market produce. One utilizes crushed tomatoes, one is sliced, and one is chopped. Don’t even consider buying tomatoes at the grocery store right now. The flavors are not even comparable. And remember, color is paramount when it comes to veg. The redder the better.

The Best Salsa recipe is a take on a pico de gallo, otherwise known as salsa fresca. Pico del gallo means “beak of the rooster,” but it is unclear why. One suggestion is that the picking of the small chopped onions and tomatoes with your thumb and forefinger resembles a pecking rooster. I love that visual. Pico traditionally features chopped ingredients, but my recipe has some of the tomatoes blended in a food processor. 

The Tomato Gruyere Galette is a recipe I’ve served several times this summer at Empire Market, my personal chef clients, and a catering event for new Carthage teachers. A galette is a traditional French pastry. Think of it as a pie without the pan, with the crust slightly folded over the filling. They can be savor or sweet. Try a peach galette. The trick is to make sure there is a layer between the juicy tomato or peach and the crust to prevent a soggy bottom. I’m no baker, but the pastry is simple. If it seems scary, try a store-bought pie crust or phyllo sheets. 

The last recipe features tomatoes with chickpeas over quinoa. Packed with protein without the meat, this room temp salad is refreshing for these last days of summer when we’re just not ready to turn on the oven again. The tomatoes are cherry or grape chopped in half, and the vinaigrette is simple and pulls the whole dish together with a punch. Try it without the quinoa, or over chopped romaine for added crunch. My recipe adds pancetta, a pork product like bacon. Both are cured, but bacon is smoked after curing. I also use the rendered fat from the pork, drizzling it right into the salad for added flavor.

Quick, get to the market before these red, green and yellow beauties are gone. Happy eating.

Best salsa

Makes about 4 cups.

2 pounds medium sized tomatoes, cored and small dice
1 medium white onion, small dice
1-3 serrano or jalapeno chiles, small dice (tip: wear gloves)
3 garlic cloves
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Place the garlic and half of the tomatoes into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add remaining tomatoes and pulse until they are mostly broken up but still has some texture. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the onion and chiles. Season with salt to taste. Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Add more salt if needed. Serve with tortilla chips.

Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Tomato and gruyere galette

Makes 4 servings.

2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ cup ice water
1 ½ pounds heirloom tomatoes sliced 1/4'’ thick
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 ounces grated gruyere cheese or cheese of choice (tip: best to grate yourself; packaged shredded cheese has a chemical applied to the cheese to keep it from clumping)
1 large egg, beaten
Flaky sea salt or kosher salt
½ lemon
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or scallion

Pulse the flour and 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture looks like coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and drizzle with vinegar and ¼ cup ice water. Mix with a fork, adding more water as needed to make a shaggy dough. Lightly knead on dusted surface and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400. Gently toss tomatoes, garlic, and remaining kosher salt in a large bowl. Let sit for a few minutes, letting tomatoes release juices. Drain tomato mixture. Unwrap dough and roll out onto lightly dusted parchment paper to a 14” round about 1/8” thick. It won’t be perfectly round, and that is fine. Transfer parchment carefully to a baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese over center, leaving a 1 ½” border. Arrange tomatoes and garlic over cheese. Bring edges of dough up and over the filling. Brush dough with egg wash. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper. Bake rotating once until crust is golden brown, 55-65 minutes. Let cool slightly and sprinkle with lemon zest and chives to serve. 

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

Tomato Chickpea Salad over Quinoa

Makes 4 servings.

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
4 ounces cooked chopped pancetta or bacon
¼ cup packed parsley, chopped
1/8 cup toasted pine nuts (or raw nut of choice, option to leave out)
1/8 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, honey, or maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash kosher salt and twist of ground black pepper
1 cup dry quinoa cooked 

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Fluff and spread onto baking sheet to cool. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl. Gently toss tomatoes, chickpeas, pancetta, and parsley in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and pancetta pan drippings. Gently combine. Serve over quinoa.