Cooking with heirloom tomatoes

September 30, 2012 7:32:24 AM PDT
Maybe you've heard of heirloom tomatoes, but do you know what they are? They have an incredible flavor and are great for cooking.

Tony Stallone with Peapod came into our ABC7 studio kitchen to show us a few recipes for heirloom tomatoes.

Tony's Tips:

-Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator. Temperatures below 55 degrees destroy the flavor of any tomato. They are best stored on a kitchen counter away from sunlight with the heart (stem portion) facing up, where they can last 5-7 days and will develop great color and full flavor.

-Tomatoes and salt have a natural affinity for each other, and heirlooms can be enjoyed sliced when fully ripe sprinkled with a little salt. Make sure to salt just before eating, because the salt will draw the moisture from the tomato, and you will lose a lot of juice if salted too early.

-If the tomato is pink it has more than likely been refrigerated, thus destroying the flavor.

Tony's Recipes:

Baked Tomato Egg Cups

Ingredients:

1 Tomato

2 Eggs

Pepper

Sea Salt

Fresh Basil

Cheese of your choice

Olive Oil

Method:

Cut your tomato in half vertically.

Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membranes.

Crack an egg into each of the tomato halves.

Top with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt.

Bake at 425F for 20 minutes.

Top with fresh chopped basil and cheese of your choice and a drizzle of olive oil and bake for another 5 minutes.

Grandma Geruli's No Cook Heirloom Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

3 to 4 Medium to large size heirloom tomato cut into 1" quarters

2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1T Balsamic Vinegar

8 to 10 Basil leaves chiffonade (cut into long thin strips)

1/2t Garlic Salt

1/2t Onion Salt

1lb Pasta (works best with Penne, but any pasta will do)

1/2C Parmesan grated (I like a true imported parmesan reggiano)

Method:

Combine tomatoes and oil mix gently, add seasonings and basil, and mix.

Then splash with balsamic, and let set.

Cook pasta, drain and plate.

Pour off liquid from tomatoes onto pasta, toss coating the pasta, then spoon tomato mixture on top and finally top with cheese.

TIP: The better quality oil, vinegar and cheese you use, the better the dish will turn out.

Tony's Oven Dried Cherry Heirlooms

Ingredients:

2pts Heirloom Cherry tomatoes sliced in half

1T Extra virgin olive oil

1/2T Kosher salt

1/8T Black Pepper

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss coating tomatoes thoroughly.

Spread on a baking sheet (maybe use parchment paper to prevent any sticking to the pan).

Bake in a preheated 250 degree oven for approximately 2 - 3 hours until dry (but not completely dry, you want a little moisture left.

Place in a container, seal and refrigerate up to 2 weeks for later use.

Serve on top of chicken or fish, for example.


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