By Tim Ebner, special to EdibleDC
By this point in the summer, the backyard garden is producing a bountiful crop of vine-ripen tomatoes. Leaving the gardener with quite a conundrum — What does one do with all those extra tomatoes? There’s only so many tomatoes that you can unload on a family member, loved one, or neighbor.
Luckily, a few chefs have shared their favorite tomato recipes, designed to make the best use of this year’s bumper crop. These include a tomato bacon jam, tomato salad sandwich, pan con tomate, and watermelon and tomato skewers. Each of these recipes are easy enough to make at home, meaning it’s a quick option for the next dinner or cookout.
Chef Heidi Vukov hails from Pennsylvania and runs a restaurant in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, called Croissants Bistro & Bakery. She recently published a cookbook that highlights all the best in Low Country cooking, including a variety of tomato-based recipes.
Then, there’s the master of the tomato, Chef José Andrés. Aside from his namesake fast casual chain Beefsteak, he’s also hosting a party in honor of the famed Spanish tomato festival, La Tomatina.
Together these chefs have four recipes which can take the quintessential backyard tomato and turn it into an amazingly delicious dish.
The Following recipes are from chef Heidi Vukov.
Heirloom Tomato Salad Sandwich
- Fresh Basil
- 8 Slices Challah
- 12 Ounces Goat Cheese
- 8 Heirloom Tomato Slices
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
Cut about 12 leaves of fresh basil and wash and set aside. Spread 4 slices of bread with goat cheese and make a sandwich. Spread the outsides of the sandwiches with butter. Grill both sides until golden brown.
For Assembly: Place each sandwich on a plate. Stack four slices of tomato on top of each, then top with fresh basil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Bacon and Tomato Jam
Yields: 2 cups
- 1/2 Pound bacon, Diced and Fat Rendered Off Until Crispy
- 1 1/2 Pounds of Tomatoes, Seeded and Diced
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic, Minced
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme, Chopped
- 1 Cup Red Wine
- 1 1/2 Cups Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup of Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper, Ground
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Cup Grenadine
In a large saucepan on low heat, add the diced bacon and slowly cook the bacon until it is crispy. This will take a few minutes. Keep stirring the bacon occasionally and cook until the majority of the fat is cooked off. Carefully drain grease from pot. Then, add the diced tomatoes and thyme and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour the sugar over the tomatoes and stir until dissolved. Add the red wine and red wine vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes. Finally, add the salt, pepper, and grenadine and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the consistency of jam. Store in a sealed jar and refrigerate.
The Following Recipes are from José Andrés.
Pan con Tomate
- 4 Slices Rustic Bread
- 2 Ripe Tomatoes
- 1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
- ½ Teaspoon Minced Thyme
- ½ Teaspoon Minced Rosemary
- 3 Tablespoons Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus more for drizzling)
- Salt to Taste
Preheat over to a broil. Place the piece of bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 1 minute on each slide. Set bread aside. Cut the tomatoes in half and place a great over a large mixing bowl. Rub the open face of the tomatoes into the gate, until flesh is grated. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the minced garlic, thyme, and rosemary to the mixture. Season to taste with salt. Spoon the mixture over the slices of toast and drizzle with a little bit of extra olive oil.
Watermelon and Tomato Skewers
- 8 Plum Tomatoes
- 1 Seedless Watermelon, cut into 2-inch x 2-inch Cubes
- 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Cup of Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon of Sherry Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon of Lemon Zest
- Sea Salt to Taste
- Microgreens of Thinly Sliced Mint for Garnish
Using a sharp knife, slice off the tops and bottoms of each of the tomatoes. Locate the dividing wall of flesh separating one segment inside the tomato. Slice into the wall and open up the flesh to expose the seeds. Remove the seeds and their pulp by slicing through the tomato core. Set aside the seeds. Your aim is to keep the pulp of the seeds together to create fillet of tomato seeds that are separate from the firmer tomato flesh.
Repeat with each segment of the tomato. Skewer one tomato seed fillet on each cube of watermelon. Arrange the skewers on a serving plate. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice with the oil, and vinegar and half of the lemon zest. Pour the dressing on the skewers. Sprinkle with sea salt, the remaining lemon zest and the greens. Serve immediately.