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Tomato Leek Casserole

Zola Gorgon on

Red, Ripe and Juicy

My favorite kind of tomato. That’s an easy one. Ripe.

I know. Sarcasm. But I can’t help it. I think I have been singled out in this life to be given the unripe slices of tomato at every restaurant. Sometimes I even get the end piece with the hole in it where they cut out the edge of the stem. I can’t believe it. Even when tomatoes are in season this happens to me. It feels like only me. I feel picked on. When I am on ZReduction I order up a plain burger with just lettuce, tomato and onion. I don’t even order the bun so having a ripe slice of tomato is a major feature in my entrée selection. At least the cook in back can acknowledge my simple meal request and give me a ripe slice of tomato.

Okay I’m over it. Onto other ripe and juicy tomato stories.

I don’t profess to be a tomato expert. When I buy tomatoes I am usually looking for large, ripe, beefsteak tomatoes, so I can make those thick, juicy slices. That usually means I am buying a hothouse variety of tomato for that purpose.

When I want to roast tomatoes I usually select roma tomatoes. Those are the egg-shaped, Italian ones. When you cut those in half and drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast them at high heat they come out tasting like candied tomatoes. Really yummy. I roast them until their edges are browning so they are caramelized. That’s the best.

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Heirloom tomatoes are popular. Those are the ones grown from historic cultivars. They are popular with gourmet chefs and foodies. I like to buy organic heirloom tomatoes at farmers markets. They come in lots of colors and are often misshapen or odd shapes. More wrinkly-looking than a modern tomato. That doesn’t make them taste ugly. They actually have a sweeter, much desired flavor. I might use heirloom tomatoes in a tomato tart or sometimes I layer fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil with slices of heirloom tomatoes. Drizzle on some balsamic vinegar reduction and you have a fresh gourmet treat.

Green tomatoes are fun. I love the southern dish called Fried Green Tomatoes. I don’t eat it often but it’s a fun treat and a great way to use something not ripe yet.

One time I bought a new kind of tomato that has a chocolate brown flesh. It really tastes like a regular tomato but your sense of color can really color how something tastes in your mouth. It can fool you. My mother-in-law was not a fan of a brown tomato.

So there you have it. Some fun tomato tidbits.

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