Tag Archives: tomato

Grilled Ratatouille Salad

ratatouille  salad

~ Grilled Ratatouille Salad with Couscous ~

It’s that time of year when the garden is lobbing bushels of vegetables at us faster than a tennis ball machine. And it means one thing: It’s time for ratatouille. Now, mind you, this is not your traditional ratatouille. Instead of simmering a stew of Provencal vegetables on the stovetop, I’ve thrown eggplant, squash, onions and peppers on the grill until lightly charred, then tossed them with olive oil and fresh herbs. It’s a lighter version that’s very versatile. I like to serve it over couscous, tossed with pasta or spooned on top of grilled garlic bread.

Grilled Ratatouille Salad

If you don’t have a grill, the veggies may be broiled in the oven. You may either roast the tomatoes with the vegetables or toss them in at the end. (If you grill them, thread on pre-soaked bamboo skewers to prevent them from falling through the grates). If desired, sprinkle with crumbled feta or goat cheese before serving.

Serves 4.

2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut in 1/2 inch slices
2 red or yellow bell peppers, quartered, stems and seeds removed
1 small eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick
1 large red onion, slice crosswise, 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Italian parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded

Prepare a grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Spread the vegetables on a tray. Brush with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly charred and cooked to desired doneness, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut in large chunks. Place in a bowl with tomatoes, garlic, parsley and basil. Gently toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more olive oil if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.  

Spaghetti with Sausage and Grape Tomato Ragout

sausage ragout pates
I  know it’s summer, but sometimes a nice meaty pasta dish just hits the spot. I’ve lightened up this ragout by adding fresh grape tomatoes to the sauce. As the sauce simmers, the tomatoes will begin to break down adding garden-fresh brightness to this satisfying dinner.

Spaghetti with Sausage and Tomato Ragout
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 medium red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, cut in 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup medium-bodied red wine
1 (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional

1 pound spaghetti
Grated Parmigiano cheese
Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and sauté until golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat in the pan. Add tomatoes,  red pepper, garlic, oregano and chili flakes. Sauté 2 minutes. Add the wine. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the plum tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If needed, add sugar.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve hot with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with cheese and parsley.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Roasted Vegetable Lasagne
Shrimp Puttanesca
Linguine with Cherry Tomatoes and Breadcrumb Gremolata

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tartare with Balsamic Syrup

tomato tartare verrines tastefood

Taking its cue from Insalata Caprese, the magical trio of tomato, mozzarella and basil gets dressed up in these elegant yet simple verrines. A diced medley of colorful heirloom tomatoes is topped with creamy buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil, then laced with rich balsamic syrup. A plank of olive oil crostini completes this fresh and light dish. Make this summery appetizer when the garden is abundant with ripe tomatoes and it’s too hot to cook in the kitchen.

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tartare with Balsamic Syrup
Makes 8 servings.

Syrup:
1/2 cup balsamic syrup
1 garlic clove, lightly smashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crostini:
8 slices of baguette, cut 4-inches in length by 1/4-inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, lightly smashed

2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, seeded, cut in 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces buffalo mozzarella
8 large basil leaves

For the syrup:
Place the vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until syrupy in consistency and reduced by 1/3. Discard garlic clove. Transfer syrup to a bowl and cool to room temperature.

For the crostini:
Preheat oven broiler or grill. Brush baguette slices with olive oil. Rub with garlic clove and lightly sprinkle with salt. Arrange in one layer on a baking tray and broil until lightly golden on both sides, turning once. (Or grill until lightly charred on both sides). Set aside.

Place the tomatoes in a bowl. Add oil, salt, sugar and black pepper. Gently stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. Divide the tomatoes evenly between 8 glasses. Top with a spoonful of mozzarella. Drizzle with 1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic syrup.

Stack the basil leaves. Roll up the stack lengthwise and thinly slice the roll to chiffonade the basil. Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes. Serve immediately with crostini.

Pasta with Quick Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula

Tomato Pasta TasteFood

~ Roasted Tomatoes, Arugula, Breadcrumbs, Thyme, Parmigiano, Gemelli ~

Things are heating up in our kitchen. All sorts of treats and sweets are baking for the holidays – plus I am busy with a cookbook project. I’ve been hired to write all of the recipes for a cookbook that will be published in early 2014 (yes, that is how the world of publishing works). More details will follow on that soon, but for now suffice to say that my kitchen is a recipe test center cyclone. With all of the cooking, you would think that a nightly dinner would be a sure thing, but frankly after a long day of developing and writing, I don’t have the where-with-all to whip up anything too complicated – which is something we can all relate to during the holidays.

So, here is an easy, low-budget recipe that uses simple ingredients and may be prepared in 30 minutes with delicious results. It also makes use of those grape tomatoes you can’t resist buying in the middle of the winter when you know better. It’s not the fault of the tomato, of course. They do look irresistable, but looks can be deceiving for out of season tomatoes, even when they are shiny and oh-so-red. This recipe will remedy any buyer’s remorse. A little slow roasting will coax out any hibernating tomato-ness, releasing juices and sugars, and deflating the impossibly pert tomatoes to a more relaxed version of themselves. You can save your buyer’s remorse for bigger things this holiday season.

Tomato Pasta Plate x

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula
Serves 4.

1 pound grape tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful of thyme sprigs
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound pasta of your choice (I used gemelli)
2 large handfuls of arugula, about 3 cups

Heat oven to 400 F. Scatter the tomatoes and garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the tomatoes. Roast in oven 25 minutes. Remove and reduce oven heat to 350 F.  Transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a large serving bowl. Discard the thyme. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the same baking sheet and stir to coat in the olive oil.  Briefly return to the oven and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes (they will brown quickly so carefully watch them). Remove and immediately transfer the breadcrumbs to a small bowl to stop them from further cooking. Cool slightly, then stir in 2 tablespoons cheese.

While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Add the pasta to the tomatoes, along with the arugula and 1/3 cup cheese. Toss to combine. Drizzle with a little more olive oil as desired, and taste for salt. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pasta. Serve immediately.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Pasta with Bacon, Peas and Sweet Potato
Pappardelle with Pork Ragu
Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

I’ll have a shot of vodka with my soup, please.

If heat could speak, then it was shouting this weekend. Summer arrived with a bang, and the temperature soared to triple digits. When it’s that hot, appetites wane and thirst dominates. Food takes on a cool and liquid quality. It’s time for Gazpacho.

Gazpacho is a raw tomato-based soup blended with a vegetable bowl of produce. It’s perfect when the weather is stifling. No cooking is required, the spiced tomato juice quenches thirst, and a confetti of chopped vegetables refresh and nourish. I prefer to keep my gazpacho chunky, taking pleasure in each slurpy mouthful of crunchy vegetables mingling with cool juice. In this recipe, I’ve taken the variation one step further by adding celery, Worcestershire sauce and a generous squirt of Tabasco, thus evoking a Bloody Mary. Why stop there? If you’re in the mood and appropriately mature, serve the soup in a glass and add a shot of vodka for a wondrous beverage/soup/salad in a glass – a perfect antidote for a hot and shouty day.  Continue reading Blood Mary Gazpacho

Simply Tomato Soup

~ Simply tomatoes … and a little sage, rosemary and Parmigiano ~

I purchased cherry tomatoes at the farmers’ market this afternoon. They were closing up for the day, so when I asked for 3 boxes for $5.00 as scribbled on the cardboard wedged between the heirlooms and cherries, I was handed 5 boxes of orange and red cherry tomatoes. 5 for the price of 3? That’s a farmers market bargain. But then I had to get creative. These tomatoes were super ripe, best eaten as soon as possible. So I made this with the 4 remaining pints – since one box was gobbled up in the car on the way home.

Simply Tomato Soup

There is no straining, seeding or skinning involved in this recipe. It’s all about the whole tomato. I was lucky to find ripe, sweet tomatoes in season – if your tomatoes are not at peak,  adding a spoonful of sugar to the soup works magic.

Makes 7-8 cups.

3 pounds cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 rosemary sprigs
2 sage sprigs
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the tomatoes begin to break down and the liquid is bubbling, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered until tomatoes release all of their juices, stirring occasionally, breaking up any whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon until mixture is thick yet soupy. Taste for salt. Serve with grated Parmigiano cheese.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Carrot Soup with Coriander and Cilantro
Cauliflower and Celery Root Soup with Kale
Broccoli Rabe, White Bean and Parmesan Soup

Heirloom Tomato Tartare Verrines

~ Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata, Basil, Crostini ~

Before I fully throw myself into fall, I will share this recipe that takes advantage of the bushels of heirloom tomatoes we are still lucky enough to enjoy. Our warm and sunny early autumn has kept the supply of tomatoes ample and ripe. I am a sucker for heirloom tomatoes, their range of colors, patterns and bulbous shapes are eternally pleasing. In this easy recipe, I dice a variety of tomatoes and serve them in a glass, or verrine, to show off their colors. A dollop of creamy burrata and drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar results in a savory parfait that is as beautiful to look at as delicious to eat.

Considering how fresh and minimal this recipe is, it’s key that you use high quality ingredients. Choose firm yet ripe tomatoes with a range of colors, and be sure to use a good extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

Heirloom Tomato Tartare Verrines
Makes 6 small appetizers

6 slices of baguette, cut 4 inches in length by 1/4 inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, lightly smashed
1 1/2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, seeded, cut in 1/4 inch dice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 burrata rounds, approx. 4 ounces
Aged balsamic vinegar
Basil sprigs

Preheat oven broiler. Brush baguette slices with olive oil. Rub with garlic clove. Arrange in one layer on a baking tray. Broil until lightly golden on both sides, turning once. Remove and set aside.
Place diced tomato in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Gently stir to combine. Divide the tomatoes evenly between 6 glasses. Top with a spoonful of Burratta. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. Top with a basil sprig. Serve with baguette crostini.

Not enough?
Here’s a week’s worth of delicious Heirloom Tomato recipes from Alicia at Weekly Greens.

And more recipes from TasteFood and the food blogs:
Tomato Confit from TasteFood
Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart from TasteFood
Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad with Crispy Wontons by Steamy Kitchen
Heirloom Tomato and Polenta Tart from Guilty Kitchen
Heirloom Tomato Frittata from Mighty Foods

Roasted Provençal Vegetable Salad

~ Roasted Provençal Vegetable Salad with Couscous ~

Consider this as a deconstructed ratatouille – which happens to be oven roasted. The same cast of characters applies, only the method differs. An end of summer symphony of squash, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes are tossed together with olive oil and roasted in the oven until softened and gently charred, instead of simmered and thickened in a pot. The traditional ratatouille stew morphs into a roasted vegetable salad, freshened with a shower of fresh herbs and served over a bed of couscous for a light and healthy meal.

Roasted Provencal Vegetables Salad with Couscous

You may either roast the tomatoes with the vegetables or toss them in at the end for extra freshness. The salad is delicious as is or served over couscous, pasta, or quinoa. Serves 4 -6.

1 medium eggplant, cut in 1/2 inch slices, each slice quartered
2 small zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch slices
2 small yellow squash, cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 large red onion, halved horizontally, each half cut lengthwise in 4 thick chunks
6 baby sweet peppers, stemmed, seeded halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Italian parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
Optional: Crumbled goat or feta cheese as garnish

Heat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Place all of the eggplant, zucchini, squash and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange on 2 rimmed baking sheets in one layer. Place in oven. Bake until vegetables are tender and turning golden brown, rotating baking pans, to ensure even roasting. Remove from oven and cool. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Add tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs. Toss. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve over couscous. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese if using.

If you like this you might like these recipes:
Ratatouille Gratin from TasteFood
Ratatouille Pickles from Leite’s Culinaria
Grilled Ratatouille Panini from Panini Happy
Pasta Provençal from TasteFood

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

~
Fresh corn and tomatoes are symbols of summer, right up there with steamy sultry days and perspiring clinking drinks. So it’s no surprise that corn and tomatoes pair perfectly in this casual, summery salad. Their mutual sweetness is differentiated by the milky crunch of fresh corn kernels and the juicy acidity of sweet cherry tomatoes. A shower of parsley keep them grounded along with the bite of sweet red onion and a squirt of lime. This is summer simplicity at its best.

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad
Serves 4

2 ears corn, husked
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, diced
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch Italian parsley, stems removed, leaves chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Cut the kernels from the corn and place in a bowl. Add the pepper, onion, tomatoes and parsley. Mix to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and lime juice. Sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Salsa
Tomato Confit
Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart

or these recipes from the food blogs:
Smoky Corn and Jalapeno Dip from the Kitchn
Mexican Street Fair Corn from Bona Fide Farm Food
Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto from Lottie and Doof

Tomato Confit

Tomato confit a

It’s amazing where you discover the darnedest things: Last week I discovered a recipe for Tomato Confit in the wilderness of a national park. I was on kitchen duty for my daughter’s school outing to a Bay area national seashore. Each autumn the students spend several days immersed in nature, nestled in a camp high in the hills overlooking the Pacific. Kitchen duty is a full-time volunteer position. We rise before dawn and spend the day preparing 4 meals for 80 hungry children and adults. While it’s hard work, it’s great fun in a spectacular setting and rewarding to make the best food possible for all. This year we hired a kitchen manager, Sebastian, an alumni of the school who currently sous-chefs at the acclaimed Napa restaurant Oenotri.  He was easily convinced to trade in his wine country chef whites and come to the beach for a few days to help out his old school.

One night for dinner we prepared an Italian themed menu which included a variety of pasta dishes. Sebastian made a tomato sauce as one of the accompaniments which consisted of heirloom cherry tomatoes, olive oil and salt. It’s was simple and intense. The tomatoes cooked and broke down in a generous amount of oil for an hour or so, resulting in a thickened and rich confit. Delicious with pasta, for sure, yet extremely versatile, I wanted to experiment with the recipe and made a Tomato Confit at home this week. I made a large batch, so I could divide it up and freeze for later use. I saved one cup and used it as a topping for crostini. I think I’ll use my next batch as an extra ingredient in a cheese fondue. I suspect it will be delicious – I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Tomato Confit

Tomato Confit

Cherry tomatoes may be substituted for heirloom cherry tomatoes. Makes 4 cups.

4 pints (about 4 pounds) heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional

Combine tomatoes and olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot. Simmer over medium-low heat until tomatoes begin to break down, stirring occasionally and breaking tomatoes apart with a spoon. Continue to cook until all the tomatoes have broken down and sauce is thick, about one hour in all. Add salt and taste for seasoning. If necessary add sugar.

Crostini with Goat Cheese and Tomato Confit:
Cut 8 – 1/2 inch slices of a baguette. Brush slices with olive oil and bake in a 400 F. oven until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Stir 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, 1 minced garlic clove and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper together in a small bowl. Spread goat cheese on each baguette. Top with a teaspoon of tomato confit. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Pasta with Tomato Confit:
Bring 1 cup tomato confit, 1 cup heavy cream, 2 rosemary sprigs and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes until slightly reduced. Remove rosemary sprigs. Toss with 1 pound freshly cooked penne and 1/2 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese.

Tomato Confit Crostini

If you like this you might enjoy these recipes from the village of foodblogs:
Fennel Lemon and Garlic Confit from the Kitchn
Red Onion Confit with Port Wine from Delicious Days
Sweet Pepper and Onion Confit from Just Bento
Chorizo Caramel Confit from Seattle Food Geek