Fritter - A Pantry Blog

Tomato Tomato Tomato

Tomato-Salad
Photo by Aran Goyoaga

September is a month of transitions for most of us.

The weather is still lovely, the produce is still distinctly summery, but mentally we’re all switching towards fall. At the Pantry we tried to hang on to summer as long as possible, with a retreat to Lake Chelan State Park that involved about 48 hours of uninterrupted lying-on-a-dock with bottles of bubbly, weirdly-flavored potato chips, 9-month-old trashy gossip magazines, and lots of coloring books. After a summer that was busier than usual, it was a welcome escape.

It’s now October, officially fall, and in Seattle we still have tomatoes at the farmers markets — heirloom tomatoes of all shapes and sizes, reminding us of warmer days. I know this is blasphemy in some circles, but I am a reluctant tomato eater. I’d like to blame it on the lackluster grocery store tomatoes of my childhood, but my parents had a rather large garden, so I suspect we had some pretty good ones growing up. Maybe it was the tomato-and-mayonnaise sandwiches that still give me the shivers? Or ketchup, still the condiment of my nightmares? Somehow I avoided tomatoes like the plague until my college years, when I gradually introduced them into my meals.

I can’t say that I have converted into a true fan, because as you may have noticed, true tomato fans are REALLY BIG fans. Like Green Bay Packers cheesehead-level fans (a football reference, to celebrate fall!). But despite my tenuous and skeptical relationship with tomatoes, this September dinner was for you, the true tomato lover:

Crispy baby artichokes with smoked tomato-pepita dip
Corn and chive fritter with farmer’s cheese and pickled ground cherries
Homemade black pepper “popchips” with tomato-fig jam

Tomato and leek gratin with aged goat cheese
Hazelnut-bread crumbs and late summer herb salad

Roast pork collar with wood-fired tomato-ginger relish, avocado, and cilantro
Fresh corn polenta with feta

Fresh heirloom tomatoes, fried green tomatoes, and pickled cherry tomatoes
Bacon, green beans, and basil vinaigrette

Tomato-blackberry float
Blackberry-creme fraiche ice cream, sparkling tomato soda, and cocoa nib shortbread

Our Tomato Harvest Supper was chock full of tomatoes, and I’m proud to say that I was excited about every single version we cooked up. I'll be bringing smoked tomato-pepita dip to every summertime potluck I get invited to, and homemade popchips — we're still patting ourselves on the back for that one. I was especially proud of the salad, as raw tomato appreciation was the last notch on my tomato lover’s belt. Kim dreamed up this salad, meant as a celebration of all things tomato. It has a long name when you try to describe it on a menu, so I call it the “tomato tomato tomato” salad. Since that’s not much shorter, we think of it as the Pantry tomato salad. We made this salad last summer with sauteed corn instead of green beans, and it was fantastic. Either version is tasty, so get crazy with whichever crunchy sweet vegetable you have in the fridge.

While typing up this recipe I realized that the ingredients list is long. Like terrifyingly long. Sorry about that. I promise, even if you live in a place where tomato season has ended, forcing you to wait until next summer, it’s worth it.

Overhead
Photo by Aran Goyoaga

Tomato Tomato Tomato Salad

Yield
6 servings
  • 3 large ripe heirloom tomatoes of different colors, 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 ounces bacon, diced and cooked until crisp
  • 4 ounces fresh green beans, blanched and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons rough chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste
  • Basil Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Pinch kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Pickled Cherry Tomatoes:
  • 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 medium garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, pierced several times with a skewer
  • Fried Green Tomatoes:
  • 2 large unripe tomatoes, sliced into 1/3-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • High heat oil for frying

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