I saved more than 10 pounds of green tomatoes from the marauding pack of field mice that have been devouring our kitchen garden lately. In the picture above you see what I salvaged from our Roma vines, the tomatoes we would normally use for canning. No ripe tomatoes to can here. Fortunately, some of our favorite pickles and preserves are made with green tomatoes, so we can put these to good use.
Marc Rumminger recently published at the Ethicurean blog a recipe for green tomatoes stuffed with walnuts and herbs and baked. I must admit, I have not tried green tomatoes in our savory cooking much. But there’s no reason not too. Cooked or preserved, tomatoes take on a whole other identity in their immature green form.
Do you like roast pork? One of our favorite condiments is a green tomato mincemeat that has none of the usual mincemeat fat but tons of exotic flavor with the addition of apples, pears, orange, lemon, cloves, cinnamon, raisins, brown sugar, cider vinegar. It simmers for a long time in a heavy pot until nearly all of the liquid is cooked away, then it’s sealed in half-pint jars for a later date.
A close cousin is this green tomato and apple chutney that we often serve as an hors d’oeuvre with goat cheese. It also dresses up any Indian food quite nicely. It’s easy to make, and I’ve made an annual ritual out of dicing all the tomatoes, onions, apples. And the aromas make the house smell so good as the chutney simmers on the stove.
Another of our favorite hors d’oeuvres is a sweet green tomato pickle prepared the old-fashioned way: soaked overnight with pickling lime. The pickling lime makes the tomato wedges especially crisp. The tomatoes are almost translucent after they’ve cooked and look quite pretty in the jars. Again, give them a few months to develop their full flavor and be prepared: it’s hard to stop eating them once you crack open the jar.
Finally, here’s a quick green tomato pickle we really like made with vinegar and spiced with honey and cinnamon. Just toss the tomato sections in a jar with a mix of onions, garlic, green bell pepper, chili peppers. The flavor is unusual and a total pleasure when it develops, a huge reward for not much effort.
I guess I shouldn’t be too quick to say we don’t make savory dishes with our green tomatoes. I nearly forgot one of our favorites, this fried green tomato, bacon and lettuce sandwich. My wife also makes a smashing green tomato pizza.
What’s you’re favorite green tomato dish?