Tomato season is fast approaching and that means so is green tomato season. There are many recipes--beyond the famous Fried Green Tomatoes--that are specifically designed for the tangy, chewy fruit.
One is Paula Wolfert's version of a baked and stuffed green tomato dish from the former Soviet Georgia that appeared in her book, "The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean" (HarperCollins, 1994). The tomatoes are first baked or grilled, then hollowed out, filled and sauced with herbs and walnuts--an elaborate, though easy, way to treat the neglected green tomato.
Another green tomato recipe comes from New York culinary consultant Carole Harlam. Her sweet green tomato pickle is a great relish to serve with cold meats as well as a terrific sandwich enhancer.
BAKED GREEN TOMATOES WITH GREEN HERBS AND WALNUTS
4 mature green tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon each chopped fresh parsley, dill and basil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Sherry wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 sprigs cilantro
Roasted red pepper strips dusted with chopped dill for garnish
Slowly grill tomatoes over warm glowing coals until tender and blistery (or bake at 400 degrees). Immediately dip them in bowl of cold water and leave to cool on plate. Carefully core tomatoes. Scoop out seeds and pulp, leaving only outer walls. Sprinkle insides with salt and pepper to taste and sugar. Reserve about 2 tablespoons strained juices.
Combine parsley, dill and basil in small glass or ceramic bowl along with coarse salt, cayenne and about 1 1/2 teaspoons reserved juices to make thick herb sauce. Add few drops vinegar.
Process walnuts, garlic, cilantro, 2 teaspoons reserved tomato juices and few drops vinegar to taste in food processor until just combined (should make 1/2 cup filling). Stuff tomatoes with walnut mixture and stand them in shallow serving dish.
Heat herb sauce in microwave or in small saucepan until lukewarm. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon sauce over each tomato. Cover loosely and set in cool place at least 1 hour.
Makes 4 servings.
SWEET GREEN TOMATO REFRIGERATOR PICKLES
1/2 cup fine sea salt
2 (6-ounce) white onions, sliced
3 1/2 to 4 pounds small green tomatoes
2 3/4 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large bay leaf
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
Combine 2 quarts water and salt for brine in nonreactive pan. Bring to boil. Cool. Add onion slices to brine and soak overnight.
Rinse and core tomatoes. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, discarding stem and blossom ends. Cover and refrigerate.
Next day, strain brine. Combine tomatoes, onions, 4 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups vinegar in large pan. Bring to simmer over medium heat and simmer about 30 minutes, or until tender but not soft.
Combine cinnamon sticks, bay leaf, 1 1/4 cups vinegar, sugar and honey. Bring to boil and simmer about 5 minutes.
Bring pan of water to boil. Sterilize 3 (1-pint) jars and drain. Drain tomatoes and pack in hot jars. Fill to within 1/2-inch of top with boiling vinegar and sugar mixture. Immerse lids in boiling water. Place on jars and screw on rings. Cool and refrigerate for storage.
Makes 3 (1-pint) jars.