Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Monday, August 08, 2005

What to do with tomatoes

Tomatoes a la creme, gnocchi with fresh peas

One of these days I'll figure out how to do accents and the like in this format.

My mother was recently asking what else she could do with all these lovely summer tomatoes, besides salads and salsa. Well, there's gazpacho the way I usually make it: puree tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers in whatever proportions that suit you, add lime juice and salt.

And then there's a really decadent tomato dish I found in the September 2001 Gourmet Magazine. It's from an Elizabeth David article, originally published in Gourmet in 1970. David attributes the recipe to cookbook writer and scientist Dr. Edouard de Pomaine (nee Pozerski), who, in turn, attributes it to his Polish mother. Are you still following me? Here's the recipe:

"Take six tomatoes. Cut them in halves. In your frying pan melt a lump of butter. Put in the tomatoes, cut side downward, with a sharply pointed knife puncturing here and there the rounded sides of the tomatoes. Let them heat for five minutes. Turn them over. Sprinkle them with salt. Cook them for another 10 minutes. Turn them again. The juices run out and spread into the pan. Once more turn the tomatoes cut side upward. Around them put 80 grams (3 ounces near enough) of thick cream. Mix it with the juices. As soon as it bubbles, slip the tomatoes and all their sauces onto a hot dish. Serve instantly, very hot."

I cooked this on medium low heat. If the cream scares you (it's not that much, really), you could probably substitute with lowfat yogurt, buttermilk, or condensed milk. Just be sure the tomatoes have cooled a little before you add any of these.

I served this with gnocchi and fresh peas mixed with butter and Parmesan cheese. The tomatoes got all into the gnocchi in the most delightful way, so you could also just serve the tomatoes as a topping/sauce for the gnocchi.

I found another great use for tomatoes in this month's Saveur Magazine. In a review for Rose Prince's The New English Kitchenare a number ideas for what to put on toast. Among them, "Fried tomatoes---Go a step further and fry the day-old bread, then cover it with sweet fried tomatoes. Add a blob of creme fraiche or soured cream and a few basil leaves for something richer." This book looks great, by the way. The general premise is making the most of the best. For example, buying good bread and using every bit of it, even when it goes stale; hence the toast ideas.

On a sadder note, I just learned that Peter Jennings died of lung cancer Sunday. Like many of you, I loved his compassionate, intelligent, sensible presence. I was just wondering when he would return; I can't believe the answer to that question is never. Good night, Peter.

1 comment:

Janet M. Kincaid said...

I'd just been wondering what to do with a slew of tomatoes I harvested from my dad's tomato patch. Any suggestions for green tomatoes, besides the usual frying?

As for Peter Jennings, it is sad to know we'll never hear his reassuring and strong voice ever again. At least in this life, anyway....