Tomatoes Archive

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

classic cobb salad

cobb crazy

When I am considering recipes I might share with you all, there are a lot of foods that I arbitrarily rule out. Sandwiches? Nope! With rare exception, who needs a recipe for slapping things between two pieces of bread? Fruit salad? Oof! No! Again, unless you’re doing something fancy-fancy to it, I’m pretty sure people can find their own path to chopped fruit in a bowl. So when I got to thinking about making an old-school Cobb salad a couple months ago, I quickly rejected it because given the Cobb salad’s ubiquity on lunch menus everywhere, who doesn’t know how to make it?

this salad needs bacon

As it turns out, someone does not. Last month, at a restaurant in New Jersey, both my mother and I ordered Cobb salads, my mother the “small” version, along with a cup of soup, and myself, the regular one, with no soup. When the waiter brought out a bowl that was a third the size of the table, I groaned and tried to shuffle objects around on a table to accommodate it. “What is up with these ridiculous portion sizes?” I complained, as usual. Oh, little did I know, people! Little did I know, because the waiter next brought out a bowl I can barely describe. Imagine the bowl you would take down to make a salad for 12 people, or a vessel large enough for this guy to take a nap in, or this bowl, with a diameter so staggering that it would only fit if partially hanging off the table. This was my entrée Cobb salad.

And within those acres of iceberg, not a speck of bacon was to be found.

i love iceberg lettuceromainecubed chicken breastavocado

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, January 17, 2010

tomato sauce with onion and butter

tomato sauce with butter and onion

I could no longer resist this sauce, and frankly, I don’t know why I even tried to: food bloggers obsess over it, and they’re not a bad lot to base a recipe selection upon. Adam of Amateur Gourmet fell for it five years ago. Molly at Orangette raved about it over two years ago, with a bonus approval marking from Luisa at Wednesday Chef. Then Rachel Eats fawned over it too, and Rachel, you see, she lives in Rome right now — I want to be in Rome right now — Rome, where you can get authentic, perfect tomato sauce a zillion places every single day. And yet she stayed in and made this one. That sealed the deal.

tomatoes + onion + butter
telephone cord pasta

So what is it with this sauce that it moves people to essays over it, tossing about exclamations like “brilliant!” and “va-va-voom” and promises that “something almost magical happens”? Is it garlic, a slip of red pepper flakes, a glug of red wine or a base of mulched carrots, onion and celery, as so many of us swear by in our best sauce efforts? Is it a spoonful of tomato paste or a pinch of sugar? Is it the best olive oil money can buy? It is none of these things, not a single one: It is butter. And an halved onion, cooked slowly as the sauce plops and glurps on the stove, then discarded when it is done.

love these tomatoes

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

roasted tomatoes and cipollini

roasted tomato and cipollini

You were so enthusiastic when I recently told you about that cubed, hacked caprese I throw together a lot in the summer, I am clearly overdue to tell you about one of my other, favorite “tossed together” meals. Except that while I really like that caprese salad, this roasted tomato and cippoline dish is something of a religion to me: my obsession with it borders on fervor. I don’t understand why I can’t run off with it.

small roma tomatoes

Though the players may seem familiar — there go those white beans and peak-season tomatoes again! — after “roasting the hell out of them” (the directions I usually give friends when they ask how I made them), they become something else entirely. Sometime so delicious, tears well up in my eyes remembering the last time we got to eat this. Like I said, I get a little carried away.

cipollini onions

Continued after the jump »

Friday, September 4, 2009

corn bread salad

cornbread salad

You wouldn’t believe how I have stalked this salad. It started when I bookmarked it nearly three years ago. Three! Each and every summer, it has managed to get lost in the shuffle of tomato season. This summer I decided it would be made no matter what only to discover that the link I had to the recipe no longer worked and that — huh? — I apparently didn’t own or couldn’t find the cookbook it came from. Amazon fixed that a week later, and I set to making it for a barbecue last weekend, only for the barbecue plans to fall through as heirloom tomatoes grew soft on our counter. One thing after another got in the way of this salad this week — first we were out of buttermilk, then basil, then daylight, then energy… — until I finally dug my heels in last night and decided that we would have corn bread salad with dinner or else. I know, I’m so intimidating when I threaten salad.

heirloom tomatoes
chopped heirlooms

I’m so sorry I waited so long. This salad is the height of peak-summer awesomeness, a kind of Southern answer to Italian Panzanella — with cornbread for the croutons, buttermilk-lime dressing for the olive oil and red wine vinegar and soft lettuces for the chunky vegetables. It was a shame we weren’t eating it on a wrap-around porch somewhere, with sweet tea in tall glasses and a basket of room-temperature fried chicken, but it doesn’t mean that you can make that happen this holiday weekend.

toasted cornbread cubes
Continued after the jump »

Thursday, August 27, 2009

tomato and corn pie

tomato and corn pie

Let me tell you about something that always happens, and it’s the best thing, ever: A month or so ago, a reader emailed me and asked me if I’d ever tried a tomato pie. No, not the Italian-American tomato pie seen in New York and New Jersey — a thick, bready pizza dough slathered with sauce and broiled with Romano cheese on top then served in squares — but a Southern thing, baked in a pie shell. Where I’m from, “tomato pie” is the Italian-ish thing I’ve described it above, thus I responded that I’ve never heard of it before and added “but mark my words, not two days after I send off this email, I will have heard about it three times.”

white cornbeefsteak!peeled, sliced beefsteak tomatoesfresh white corn

Sure enough, tomato pie is everywhere this summer. I’ve seen a version from Paula Deen, Elise has a version up at Simply Recipes and my good old August Gourmet magazine — as packed with an impossible level of late-summer inspiration — adapts Laurie Colwin’s (remember her? We love her.) and James Beard’s (remember him? We love him.) nearly 20 year old version to include market-fresh corn, and updating the crust with a biscuit-like dough.

all piled up

Continued after the jump »