Tasty tomatoes tantalize the tongue

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tomatoes make tasty additions to many dishes.

Our tomatoes have almost come to an end this summer, mainly due to the heat, but you can still find them in the farmer’s markets and the grocery store. It seemed a short season for me since I do love tomatoes and look forward to them every year. I could eat sliced tomatoes, basil and mozzarella every day, with just a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I am always searching for new ways to use them and found a wonderful one-dish meal using tomatoes in the August issue of ‘Food and Wine.’ This is a Provencal casserole called a panade. It is a gooey, crispy meal and my husband and I ate it for lunch and then dinner, even though it is to serve eight. I guess we really liked it!


Tomato, Chard and Gruyère Casserole

8 servings

5 ½ pounds Swiss chard, stemmed

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 cup dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

One 1-pound loaf of day-old peasant bread, sliced ½-inch thick (any hearty bread)

3 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick

9 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (3 cups)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the chard for two minutes: drain. When the leaves are cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water. Coarsely chop the chard.

In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and thyme and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes. Add the chard and the wine and simmer over moderately high heat until the wine is reduced to ¼ cup, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with one-third of the bread, overlapping the slices slightly and cutting the bread to fit. Top with half of the tomato slices and season with salt and pepper. Spread half of the chard on top, then sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat the layering once and finish with the remaining bread. Pour the hot stock over the casserole and press with a spatula. Brush the top with the melted butter.

Cover the dish with foil and bake in the upper third of the oven for an hour. Uncover the dish and bake for about 10 minutes longer, until the top is browned and crisp. Let the casserole rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

Make ahead: The cooked chard can be refrigerated for up to two days.


Another recipe from the same issue was a salad of heirloom tomatoes with a vinaigrette using anchovies. I really like anchovies so this recipe spoke to me. Heirloom tomatoes can be very pricey (or you can grow your own favorite) but they are delicious in this salad.


Heirloom Tomato Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

4 servings

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 anchovies, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 large eggs

1 ½ pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes-large ones sliced, small ones halved

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Flat-leaf parsley and marjoram leaves, for serving

In a small skillet, combine the olive oil, anchovies, garlic and lemon zest.

In a small bowl, toss the shallot with the vinegar and let stand 10 minutes.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Turn the heat to low and, when the water is simmering, gently place the eggs in the water. Cook for six minutes, until lightly boiled. Have an ice bath ready near the stove. With a slotted spoon, plunge the eggs in the ice bath and cook for two (2) minutes. Peel the eggs.

Arrange the tomatoes on four plates and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the shallot and vinegar over the tomatoes.

Warm the anchovy dressing over moderate heat to a gentle simmer; pour over the tomatoes. Cut the eggs in half crosswise and place a half on each plate. Scatter the parsley and marjoram over the salad and serve.

Enjoy the tomatoes. Winter will come soon enough and tomatoes are not the same then.