Monday, October 03, 2011

Green tomato sauté

This time of year there are plenty of green tomatoes hanging around. It's the end of the season--if you're my mother, you've probably got bushels of them in your garden that never got a chance to ripen up before the fall set in. I have been loving their tangy flavor in a simple sauté (maybe actually even more of a quick stewing, since there ends up being so much moisture?). It tastes like it could be eggplant but it is sweet-and-sour in the best possible way. This can use up a ton of them and I love it served over buttery orzo. I used 4 pretty big sized green tomatoes. It made enough for a side dish for 4 people with a bit left over. You'll also want about 1/2 of a Vidalia onion--both the onion and the green tomatoes came from a farm stand while on a trip to Savannah and Tybee Island a week or so ago...still seemed like summer just then!
Slice up half the Vidalia into thin thin thin half moons. To sauté the vegetables you can use any number of cooking fats...once I cooked them in the brown fond left over from roasting a chicken and it was practically transcendent. This time I made them in a healthy tablespoon of bacon fat. You can also easily sauté them in a combination of 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Turn them around frequently...about 5 minutes or so over medium heat until they are nicely soft and lightly colored but not crispy-brown. You want to get them cooked before you add any tomatoes since the acid will keep the onions from cooking properly any further.
And cut up all your gorgeous greenies! I like thin wedges best for this recipe.
Turn up the heat slightly, and stuff them all into your pan. This is sort of stupid looking--probably you can use fewer tomatoes, cook in batches, or use a bigger pan. But I am dumb. They do cook down though, sort of like spinach?
I just sort of mooshed them around. This is why it was more like stewing and less like a sauté.
I stirred them around semi-frequently, allowing them to develop some nice browned bits and probably cooked them for about 10 minutes or so until they fell apart in the right way. Add 1 teaspoon each fresh ground black pepper, salt, and sugar.
Meanwhile, chop up about 3-4 whole, peeled canned tomatoes. You can also use red fresh tomatoes, but I didn't find any in the markets at this point. They make a nice sweet contrast to the tangy green ones. Add them and all their juice into the green tomatoes and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes or so.
They should be completely falling apart and looking sort of chutney-like. I also added in 4 sliced sweet pickled peppadew peppers right before the tomatoes finished up.
Taste for salt and serve hot or at room temperature. Goodbye to summer--but if it ends like this, I'm cool with it.

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