Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You like tomato, I like tomahto

Have you ever considered yourself to be lycopene deficient? The only way to combat such a problem is to attend an heirloom tomato tasting, which I did over the weekend. One of my two “must do” food events of the year, Tomato To-mah-to is a local event sponsored by the Connecticut Slow Food chapter. Located on the Upper Forty Farm in Cromwell and featuring over 100 varieties of tomatoes, it’s a fitting way to celebrate summer. As if that isn’t quite enough, there are several area chefs creating dishes featuring tomatoes along with Connecticut food artisans. Dill Cheesecake from the Pond House, Green Tomato Pie at Bloodroot, Beltane Farms cheese, were some of the standouts this year.

If you’ve never tried an heirloom tomato, you are missing out. Forget about your usual supermarket tomato; heirloom varieties come in a rainbow of colors, an incredible range of flavors, name and sizes. How about a tiny version in a husk that tastes like a pineapple? Or a vibrant green tomato called "Green Chile" with a crisp, almost apple-like flavor? Leave the dress at home, all you need is a dash of olive oil for your "Nebraska Wedding". It’s not too late to enjoy them either, check out your local farm market. As we left the festival, bags full of bread, cheese and vegetables, we looked forward to the annual "post festival" supper....a glorious tribute to the carefree days of summer.

Green Tomato Pie - served at Bloodroot - this dish is incredible!!

A savory dish that appears to be Pennsylvania Dutch in origin. Proportions are hard to be specific about in this recipe since it depends on how big your pan is and how many green tomatoes you have. From Roberta (Sage) of A Woman's Place, Athol, NY

1) Make pie crust (see recipe index) using 9 c. white flour, 2 1/4 t. salt, 1 lb. plus 1/2 stick sweet butter, 2/3 c. vegetable shortening, and 1 1/2 c. ice water.

2) Using a large pan, for example, one 11" x 17", roll out enough pie crust to fit and line pan.

3) Thickly slice 8-10 very hard green tomatoes, removing stem end.

4) Slice 2 very large onions and sauté in fry pan in 1/2 stick sweet butter
5) Slice 1 lb. Swiss cheese and 1 lb. Muenster cheese.

6) Sprinkle pie crust lined pan with bread crumbs. Layer tomato slices, cheeses and sautéed onions in pan. Sprinkle with coarse salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. AIso sprinkle over about 2Tb. brown sugar. Repeat layers until ingredients are used up. Top with more bread crumbs and a sprinkle of wine vinegar.

7) Roll out crust to top pie. Crimp edges and slash. Bake at 375° until brown. When it begins to brown, the top crust can be brushed with milk to glaze it. Leftover portions can be reheated in an oven or toaster oven.

Serves 10-12