2014-08-01 / Community

Cooking on Purpose

They’re here, so get tomatoes while you can
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

The beautiful red color peeking out from the behind the green leaves is a sight for sore eyes. The tomatoes are here and they are magnificent! Our season is so very short we really have to take advantage of fresh vegetables while we can. So load up on fresh tomatoes, whether from your garden or the farmers market and get busy. While tomatoes are delicious, just sliced or eaten like an apple, I have tried some new tomato recipes that are delightful. I hope you agree.

Rustic tomato tart

1 ½ pounds medium yellow tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices; 1 ½ pounds medium red tomatoes, cut into ¼-inchthick slices; 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided; 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears); 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; 3 tablespoons fat-free sour cream; 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour; ¼ cup yellow cornmeal; ¼ cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces; 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal; ½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided; 1/3 cup (1 ½ ounces) shredded fontina cheese; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano; 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Let stand 20 minutes; blot dry with paper towels.

Place corn, lemon juice and sour cream in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Combine 1 ½ cups flour, ¼ cup cornmeal and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stir with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add corn mixture, stir until a soft dough forms. Knead gently 3 or 4 times.

Slightly overlap 2 (16-inch) sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Place dough on plastic wrap; press into 6-inch circle. Cover with 2 additional (16-inch) sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 14- inch circle; place on a large baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; sprinkle paper with 1 tablespoon cornmeal. Remove 2 sheets of plastic wrap from dough. Place dough plastic wrap side up on baking sheet. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap.

Combine ¼ cup basil, cheese and oregano. Combine 2 tablespoons flour and ½ teaspoon salt. Arrange cheese mixture on dough,leavinga1½-inchborder. Usinga sifter or sieve, sift 1 tablespoon flour mixture over cheese mixture. Arrange half of tomatoes over cheese mixture, Sift remaining flour mixture over tomatoes; top with remaining tomatoes. Fold edges of dough toward center; press to seal (dough will only partially cover tomatoes). Bake at 400°F. for 35 minutes or until crust is brown; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with ¼ cup basil and pepper.

Serves 6 (1 wedge)

Pan-seared chicken and tomato-olive relish

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided; 4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves; ¼ teaspoon salt; ¼ teaspoon black pepper; 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil; 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered; 1/3 cup pitted olives.

Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.

While chicken cooks, combine remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, basil and vinegar in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cherry tomatoes and olives; toss to coat. Serve relish with chicken.

Serves 4.

BLT panzanella salad

1 tablespoon unsalted butter; 3 ounces Italian bread, crusts trimmed, torn into ¼-inch pieces; ¾ cup corn kernels; 4 large ripe heirloom tomatoes, halved; 1/8 teaspoon plus dash of kosher salt, divided; ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided; 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar; 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil; 1 cup baby arugula; 3 tablespoons mayonnaise; 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives; ¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves; 3 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread; sauté 5 minutes or until bread is toasted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in corn.

Sprinkle tomatoes with dash of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; let tomatoes stand 5 minutes.

Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, vinegar and oil in a large bowl. Add bread mixture and arugula; toss to coat. Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice and chives in a small bowl.

Arrange tomatoes and bread mixture on a large platter. Drizzle with mayonnaise mixture; sprinkle evenly with basil and bacon.

Serves 6.

Enjoy our fresh tomatoes and until next time, keep “Cooking on Purpose.”

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com

Return to top