Great recipes featuring tomatoes

August 24, 2008 8:06:45 AM PDT
Nothing tastes better than a home-grown tomato.If you have a garden or visit any of the local farmers markets, you know that now is the prime time for enjoying the summer harvest.

Chris Koetke, the Dean of The School of Culinary Arts of Kendall College visits the ABC7 News Sunday morning team with some great recipes for putting tomatoes to use.

TOMATO MOZZARELLA SANDWICH

This sandwich is a classic with a twist. We've added a sun-dried tomato basil butter and arugula. The secret of this sandwich is to use a crispy fresh baguette and perfectly ripe tomatoes. Feel free to vary the recipe with different greens or cheeses. A sprinkle of gardinara adds a great kick.

Serves: 4

5 large basil leaves
2 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
one-half teaspoon salt
one-quarter teaspoon ground black pepper

1 crispy baguette
5 medium heirloom or vine ripened tomatoes
3 - 4 large balls fresh mozzarella
one-half Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
one-half small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups arugula

1. In the bowl of a food processor, place basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, butter, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Process until smooth. Place mixture in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until butter is melted.
2. Cut off tips from both ends of the baguette. Then, cut baguette in half lengthwise. Brush the melted butter mixture over both sides of the bread. Leftover butter can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week.
3. Thinly slice tomatoes and mozzarella. Season both sides of the tomatoes and mozzarella with one-half Tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
4. Build the sandwich by placing one-half of the tomato slices on the bottom of the baguette. The next layer is the mozzarella slices. Top this layer with the rest of the tomato slices. Next is a layer of red onion. Finally, a layer of arugula. Cover with top of the baguette.
5. Cut into 4 sandwiches. You can prepare these sandwiches several hours in advance, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

OVEN DRIED TOMATOES

These tomatoes are great added to pasta dishes or even tossed in a salad.

12 ripe plum tomatoes
garlic olive oil
kosher salt
ground black pepper
dried thyme
extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
2. Core the tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise.
3. Place tomato halves on a large cookie sheet.
4. Brush each tomato half with olive oil.
5. Lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme.
6. Place in oven for 4 - 5 hours or until the tomatoes are mostly dried but since have some moisture.
7. Coat dried tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil.
8. Store tomatoes in refrigerator for up to one week.

PANZANELLA (TOMATO BREAD SALAD)

This is a classic recipe from Italy that combines bread, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and vinegar the flavors that are synonymous with the Tuscan countryside. It's best made in the summer when the tomatoes are at their peak and what a great way to use up stale bread!

Serves: 6 - 8

4 ounces of pancetta
2 cups thinly sliced red onion
2 one-half pounds tomatoes (mix yellow, red and heirloom tomatoes)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 one-half teaspoons ground black pepper
1 pound coarse textured bread, 2 - 3 days old cut into 1" slices then torn into pieces
three-fourths cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or aged parmesan cheese

1. Finely dice pancetta and place in a saute pan. Cook until the pancetta is crispy. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.
2. In the same pan, add the sliced red onion and sauté until caramelized. Set aside to cool.
3. Seed and chop the tomatoes, reserving the juice.
4. Place tomatoes, tomato juice, onions, bread, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a large serving bowl and toss to combine.
5. In separate bowl whisk together ¾ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 cup olive oil, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
6. Pour 1 ½ cups vinaigrette over tomato - bread mixture reserving the extra vinaigrette.
7. Toss to make sure that everything is coated. Let salad sit for 1 hour to allow bread to absorb vinaigrette and soften. Add additional vinaigrette if needed. Adjust seasonings.
8. When ready to serve, top each serving with shaved parmesan cheese.


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