Photo: Kemp Minifie
The perfectly red tomatoes above look a lot like bite-size grape tomatoes, don’t they? They’re actually miniature San Marzano tomatoes grown by Village Farms, a huge greenhouse and hydroponic company with facilities all over North America. Village Farms worked with a seed company to create what they’ve trademarked as the Heavenly Villagio Marzano,” which they claim is an authentic San Marzano tomato in a miniature size.
San Marzano tomatoes have rock star status among Italian food lovers. (For more about Italian food, check out Gourmet Live’s latest issue on Italy.) It’s considered the tomato for tomato sauce, and the fruit—yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit—grown near the town of San Marzano in the rich volcanic soil of the Sarno Valley (thanks to nearby Mt. Vesuvius) gets the European Union Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) status. If you’ve spent any time in the canned tomato aisle of a supermarket, you’ve seen the labels for San Marzano.
Village Farms introduced their fresh mini San Marzano tomatoes a year ago, and I’m amazed it took that long for them to show up at my neighborhood supermarket. Cute zippered bags of them suddenly appeared in the produce section last week. According to the Village Farm website, the Heavenly Villagio Marzano is being marketed as a healthy snack, to be eaten raw. Continue reading
Photo: Romulo A. Yanes
Salsa! Say the word and most people think red (tomatoes) or green (tomatillos), along with the kick of a couple of fresh serrano or jalapeno chiles. We’re hot on chiles this week at Gourmet Live, and there’s another world of salsas out there using dried chiles that will put a whole new spin on your usual tortilla chips and dip.
If those unfamiliar dried chiles hanging in cellophane packages in the supermarket produce aisle intimidate you, relax. They are a cinch to use. Wipe off the chile first with a damp cloth. Next, remove the stem, then slit the chile open lengthwise, and shake out the seeds. Pull out the veins, too. (In a tiny village in Oaxaca, I saw two women make a special sauce from just the seeds and veins of chiles.)
Often the disemboweled chiles are lightly toasted on a comal or in a dry heavy skillet. It only takes a few seconds on each side, holding the chile flat with tongs, and in the twinkling of an eye, you’ll see them soften and change color slightly. Sometimes the chiles are soaked in hot water for 20 minutes until they’re silky soft, while other times, the chiles are torn or broken into pieces and puréed in the blender with hot, freshly cooked tomatillos or tomatoes. Continue reading
#TomatoLove is trending this month on Twitter, as large, luscious tomatoes are blooming all over. To celebrate this beloved fruit, we’re rounding up a variety of tomato-inspired recipes to enjoy all summer long.
- For starters, try Naturally Ella’s Roasted Tomato and Corn Salsa (pictured above), which is made with cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, and cilantro.
- Chef Margo has modified a Spanish staple to include fresh fruit in Grilled Peach and Tomato Gazpacho.
- Oh Cake’s Spinach and Feta-Stuffed Tomatoes fills large, juicy tomatoes with spinach, Feta cheese, red onions, whole wheat breadcrumbs, and toasted pine nuts.
- Raymond Blanc’s Summer Tomato Tart stars halved cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and sliced black olives atop a buttery puff pastry crust.
- Pasta and tomatoes are a tried and true pair, so enjoy Gimme Some Oven’s Pasta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Parmesan for a simple,well-seasoned pasta dish.
- Bake Your Day spices things up with Mexican Veggie Flatbread, a cheesy combo of pepper-Jack cheese, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, black beans, green peppers, and cilantro, all loaded stop flatbread smothered with avocado spread.
- The Breathing Kitchen’s Spring Bruschetta tops crunchy, toasted slices of bread with Fava beans, crushed tomatoes, and olive oil.
Photo: Romulo Yanes
Summer has officially begun, and with the heat comes a bounty of fresh produce. With wonderful warm weather fruits and vegetables like strawberries, zucchini, cherries, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, blueberries, corn, and peaches, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But, we want you to tell us:
What summer produce are looking forward to eating the most?
Ripe tomatoes are one of the wonderful perks of summer that make the heat and humidity a little more bearable. They are great on sandwiches, tasty in pasta sauces, and delicious on their own with a little salt and pepper. This week’s roundup takes a look at a few recipes that include this farmer’s market favorite.
- Girl Versus Dough keeps things simple by topping her Beer Pizza Crust with cheese and tasty tomatoes (pictured above).
- Last Night’s Dinner makes the BLT a little easier on the eyes by substituting heirlooms for regular tomatoes.
- The Wednesday Chef’s quick-fix recipe for Pamela Sherrid’s Summer Pasta will be your new go to when it’s too warm outside to slave over a hot stove.
- Simply Recipes’ Shrimp Po Boy Sandwich served with tomatoes and Cajun remoulade is succulent simplicity at its best.
- Give your kabobs an added kick with Steamy Kitchen’s Asian Steak Kabobs made with cherry tomatoes, portobellos, squash, and sirloin marinated in ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
- Get a mouthful of fresh tomato flavor with Love and Olive Oil’s Heirloom Tomato Caprese Sandwiches.
- Matkonation’s Farmers Market Summer Meal combines all the best things about the hottest of seasons: sweet corn, fresh basil, local lettuces, and ripe tomatoes.