Everyday Gourmet (Sept. 4, 2008)

Sept. 4, 2008
By Kim Dannies

Crazy daze of tomatoes

Cherokee Purples, Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, Mr. Stripey — the gang’s all here as we reach the zenith of tomato season. Mutating by the minute, tomato pyramids top kitchen counters while bulging baskets of the summer’s bounty beg to be bought at the market. Manic, I’m eating tomatoes for breakfast, tomatoes for lunch, tomatoes for dinner. Yet the fever never seems to cool — I’m still crazy in love with these gorgeous globes.

To stoke tomato fever, all one really needs is some good quality, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Boost the temperature a notch by adding fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and toasted breadcrumbs.

Fried tomato frittata

Slice two tomatoes and dredge each side in 1/2 cup of flour that has been generously seasoned with salt and pepper. In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and brown on one side and then the other. Lower the heat to medium low. Whisk together 4 eggs and two egg whites, along with 1 teaspoon of water. Pour over fried tomatoes. Top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and let eggs cook for about 5 minutes, until puffed and glistening, but firm. Cut into wedges; serves 4.

Summer stuffed mushroom caps

In a work bowl combine 3 to 4 chopped tomatoes (discard juice and seeds) with the kernels from 2 ears of corn; 1/2 cup cooked, chopped pork sausage; 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese; 1 cup freshly chopped mint; kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste; 2 minced garlic cloves and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Stuff four portabella mushroom caps. Grill, stuffing side up, on medium heat 10 to 15 minutes. Serves 4.

Munch a bunch tomato salad

Buy as many different colors and shapes of tomatoes as you can find, about 5 pounds. Slice into bite sized quarters and scatter on a serving platter. Sprinkle tomatoes with generous pinches of sea salt and black pepper. Toss a combination of chopped fresh basil, thyme and chives over the tomatoes. Scatter 1 cup of crumbled fresh goat or feta cheese. Lightly drizzle olive oil over salad and serve.

Better BLT

Fry 1 pound of thick-cut bacon; roughly chop the bacon. Chop 2 to 3 tomatoes, discarding juice and seeds. Peel and dice 1 avocado. Ribbon-cut crisp romaine lettuce to make 1 cup. Add all ingredients to a work bowl. Add enough mayonnaise to lightly bind the mixture. Stuff mixture into whole-wheat pita pockets. Top with additional lettuce; serves 4.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.