It's August. Tomatoes are ripe. Let's cook with some.
Recipe #1: Sliced Tomatoes
Slice tomatoes. Arrange on a serving plate. Salt and pepper them. Drizzle with your best olive oil. Perhaps add a little acidity, such as balsamic vinegar or lime juice. Perhaps add a chiffonade of basil, or some garlic, or oregano, or....
Recipe #2: Tomato and Roast Pepper Soup
Tomatoes and roast peppers, in equal quantities, make a nice soup. A bit of heat and smokiness from a dried smoked chili is very good in it. If you make home canned tomato juice, this is an excellent use.
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes.
2 cups diced roast peppers, home made and peeled, or fished from a jar
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 pint heavy cream, optional
1 clove minced garlic
1 slice minced onion
1 small dried smoked chili, finely minced
2 T some combination of butter, olive oil, and rendered bacon grease
2 T flour
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, peppers, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and blenderize, food processorize, or run through a food mill. Rinse and dry the pot.
In the pot, melt the fats over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook and stir the roux to the medium brown stage.
Add the garlic, onion, and chili to the roux and saute a bit.
Whisk a little bit of the tomato mixture into the hot roux. We start slow so that no lumps form. Whisk in a bit more. And then some more. Then dump in and whisk the rest.
Add cream for richness if you like.
Season with sugar and salt, and adjust to taste.
Top the soup with home made croutons, sauteed zucchini, a dab of savory whipped cream, a dab of savory tomato whipped cream, or some such.
Grilled cheese sandwiches, and maybe a bit of plain green salad, are traditional.
The soup is good reheated the next day, or served cold. Go light on the chili if serving cold: it can taste bitter and not hot.
Recipe #3: Linguine with Clams and Tomatoes
1 package linguini
3 T. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 doz. littleneck clams
1 cup white wine
2 cups diced plum tomatoes
1 T chopped parsley
1 t. butter
Bring salted water to boil and add linguine. Let it boil about 2 minutes before proceeding with sauce.
Heat oil in a saute pan. Brown the garlic.
Add clams to hot oil in pan. Fry the clams in the oil for 30 seconds or so.
Add wine, which should boil slightly, and adjust heat to a low simmer.
When the first clam opens, add the diced tomatoes. When the last clam opens, swirl in the pat of butter.
Add parsley, and hold sauce at low heat until linguine is ready. Adjust for salt.
When the linguine is al dente, drain, and serve. A clam knife, a spoon, a fork, a slice of bread, and a bowl for the shells are handy.
Recipe #4: Pizza with Sliced Tomatoes
This is a thin crust, thinly sauced, thinly cheesed pizza with fresh tomato slices. The intention is to roast the tomato slices at high heat, for an intense flavor. I've grilled it on the Weber here, but the oven is nice too.
The fresh tomato pizza is sauced not with this:
but with this:
1 recipe pizza dough, or store bought as a lump of fresh dough
1 recipe oily tomato paste
8 oz. supermarket grade shredded mozzarella
2 T grated parmesan
About 2 slicing tomatoes, sliced thin
Lightly salt the tomato slices, and place them in a colander to drain. Mix the mozzarella and parmesan.
Start your Weber fire. Roll out the pizza dough to a circle just about grill size.
Have all ingredients ready to go at grill side.
When the coals are ready, make a thin layer of coals underneath, and heap more to the sides, for a hot indirect roasting heat on the tomatoes.
Line your grill with aluminum foil, lightly oil the foil, and pokes holes in the foil to let some moisture out beneath the crust.
Grill the pizza crust on one side, just until it is stiff enough to turn over. This will not take long. Figure out some way to remove the whole hot grill rack and crust to some place where you can work with it. Flip the crust.
Spread the tomato paste on the grilled side of the lightly grilled crust. Add cheese. Layer on the tomatoes. Place the pizza back on grill, without the aluminum foil this time.
Grill mostly covered, to direct the heat to the tomatoes. Watch closely for burning underneath.
Pizza dough Amounts, for 1 Medium Weber Grill Crust
1 T. sugar
3/4 T. salt
3.4 T. olive oil
midway between 1/2 and 2/3 cup water
1-1/2 C. all purpose flour
3/4 package dried yeast
Oily Fresh Tomato Paste
3 T. good olive oil
3 plum tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 slice onion
1/2 t. salt
2 T Italian red wine
Mince the onion and garlic, then pulverize them a bit with a fork, using the salt as an abrasive.
Heat the oil in a saute pan, lightly fry the garlic/onion mix.
Add the red wine. Boil to reduce just a bit. Add the tomatoes.
Boil to reduce the liquid out of the mixture, until it makes a nice oily paste. The tomato dice should be wholly destroyed.