Posted by Craig Lennox on 21. Sep 2009
A fruit that always stands out with its bright colors, various shapes and sizes -- as well as its juicy texture and various uses -- is the tomato. While some say it's a fruit and others a vegetable, however you classify it, there is no doubt that it's cheap, healthy item that's easy to prepare and devour.
Now that the end of the season is upon us, tomatoes have been basking longer in the sun, making their flesh juicier and taste sweeter than their mid-summer companions.
They are also very easy to cook with, and the choices of recipes that include tomatoes are endless.
The recipes I have included are good throughout the year, and the results can be eaten hot or cold depending on your taste. In addition, the size and shape of the tomato that you will choose for each recipe will, again, depend on your personal tastes.
For the first recipe, I prefer to use the biggest, fleshiest tomatoes I can find. For the others, I prefer the small cherry tomatoes that are much sweeter in flavor.
ITALIAN STUFFED TOMATOES
- 6 medium-to-large tomatoes (firm)
- 500g fresh spinach
- 1 medium onion, diced (red or white)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (or feta if you prefer)
- ¼ cup dry breadcrumbs (I use any old bread that I have around)
- 1 tbs Italian seasonings (basil, thyme and oregano work well)
- pinch of chili powder to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- diced butter
1.) Pre-heat your oven to a medium temperature
2.) Slice the tops from the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds
3.) Season insides with salt and pepper
4.) Mix all remaining ingredients and pack tomatoes tightly
5.) Place in a greased casserole or oven dish
6.) Place a little chunk of butter on top of the mixture, then place the top of the tomato back on the top of the tomato and mixture
7.) Place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the tomato skin starts to brown slightly
Remove from the oven and serve with salad or cous cous -- or simply eat on their own. It helps to drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar before tucking in.
TOMATO AND CUCUMBER SALSA
This works great either as a dip, as a pizza sauce or simply poured over a salad.
- 2 large cucumbers, de-seeded and chopped
- 6 medium tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 2-3 tablespoons of fresh chopped coriander (depending on your taste)
- ¼ cup rice wine
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ample sprinkling of salt and pepper
- ample sprinkling of Italian-style herbs
1.) Chop the cucumber, tomatoes and onions into tiny pieces and place in a bowl
2.) Throw in the minced garlic and ginger; season with salt, pepper and Italian herbs
3.) Mix in the rice wine and vinegar
4.) Thoroughly mix everything together and sprinkle the coriander through the mixture; continue to mix.
5.) Add more salt and pepper as required to taste
Either serve with tortilla chips or pour a little over some fresh salad as a dressing. Made too much? No problem! This should keep in an airtight container for a few days.
CHUNKY TOMATO SOUP
We couldn't have tomato recipes without including everyone's favorite: tomato soup. This chunky soup is great for lunch or as a light dinner.
- 1 medium onion, peeled
- 6 large ripe tomatoes (washed and cored)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups chicken broth (I use the chicken granules from the supermarket)
- 1/3 cup fresh or dried dill
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup plain yogurt
1.) Cut the tomatoes and onions into rough chunks (size depends on your preference)
2.) Heat butter in a medium pan and sauté the onion until it goes limp and starts to brown a little
3.) Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, dill, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil
4.) Lower the heat to a small flame and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes
5.) Taste to ensure that the vegetables are tender and it's suited to your specific taste
Serve in soup bowls with a dollop of fresh yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh black pepper. Have some fresh bread ready for dunking and enjoy!
What did you think of this recipe? Let Craig know below, and be sure to chime in with your own recipes for all things tomato.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Chiot's Run.
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