Farm to Fork: Tomatoes addthis
Farm to Fork: Tomatoes
Chef Sharon Vaknin says few foods are as versatile as the tomato. Sharon unveils three recipes that use tomatoes in quite a different way. She and her guest farmer serve up tomato pie, poached eggs in tomatoes and a rustic Italian dinner salad.

Ripe Tomato Pie Recipe
Ripe Tomato Pie Recipe

1 unbaked 9 inch pastry shell
5 to 7 ripe medium-size tomatoes
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup mayo
1 -2 cups grated mozzarella
1-5 cloves minced garlic

Slice tomatoes and layer in a bowl, sprinkle a pinch of salt between layers and let sit for 2-3 hours to drain.

Mix ¼ tsp pepper, ½ cup mayo, 1 -2 cups grated mozzarella and 1-5 cloves minced garlic.

Brush pastry shell with milk, poke with a fork here and there and bake at 450 for 5 minutes. Remove pastry shell from oven, layer the tomato slices (but not the juice - discard or drink!) Spread mix on top of tomatoes and bake at 350 for 20-30 min – or until cheese is golden brown.

Let sit for a few minutes and serve warm with a green salad.

Fresh basil can be layered with the tomatoes or dill can be added to cheese mixture for additional flavor.


Tomato-Artichoke Panzella Recipe
Tomato-Artichoke Panzella

1/2 loaf day-old bread, cubed
2 tbsp Olive oil
5 Vine tomatoes, cubed
4 oz Artichoke hearts (about 5-6), halved
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup roasted red and yellow bell peppers, sliced
5-6 tbsp Basil, chopped
1/4 cup Olive oil
4 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
Salt, pepper
a few tablespoons Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cubed bread on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until it just starts to brown. (You want to toast the bread, not make croutons.)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, and basil. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to make dressing. Add bread to salad mixture, pour dressing over, and mix well.

If you'd like, you may allow the salad to sit for about 20 minutes -- the flavors will be intensified.


Eggs poached in Tomatoes, aka "Shakshooka" Recipe
Eggs poached in Tomatoes, aka "Shakshooka"

2 lbs fresh tomatoes, diced (keep the pulp)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano chilis (or your favorite small chilis), minced
2 tbsp olive oil
4 eggs

In a large frying pan, heat oil. Add garlic and chilis, and saute until lightly browned, not burned. Depending on how many seeds you kept in the chilis, the steam from the pan may slightly sting your eyes.

Once the chilis and garlic have browned, add all the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a light boil, then turn down to a simmer. Leave uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until tomato mixture has thickened.

When most of the water has evaporated and the tomatoes have thickened, use a spoon to create four shallow wells (one for each egg.) Crack the eggs into the wells, and cover. Cook until whites are solid.

Serve in a shallow bowl with a slice of soft bread, and a side of hummus. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.


Tomato - Fun Fact:
Americans eat LOTS of tomatoes, on average about 24 pounds a year - much of that in tomato sauce and ketchup. Tomatoes are low in calories, and high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Botanically a fruit, most people consider tomatoes a vegetable, which, perhaps, is why Arkansas has chosen tomatoes as both the state fruit and state vegetable.

California Farm Bureau Federation
California Department of Food and Agriculture

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