Fall brings chances to explore plethora of green tomato recipes
Fall has arrived.
For the average Western Pennsylvanian gardener, the change in season signifies many things. It's time to harvest the rest of the melons and sweet potatoes. Zucchini and many varieties of squash are plentiful, and pumpkins and apples are ready to pick.
And, if your tomato plants did well this summer, the slow decline in the daily average temperature and increasingly cooler nights means you probably have an abundance of green tomatoes that are no longer willing to ripen on the vine.
The good news is that tomatoes have been used for cooking since at least 500 B.C., so there is no shortage of recipes available for green tomatoes beyond the most well-known breaded-and-fried preparation.
Green tomatoes, in terms of flavor, are unremarkable, some being bitterer than others. The taste of the unripe tomatoes used for these recipes was basically neutral, finishing with just the slightest hint of tangerine. Like most varieties of unripe tomatoes, they are like a blank canvas waiting to adapt to the sweet, spicy, sour, savory or acidic whim of the culinary artist using them.
If you don't already have a cache of green tomatoes, you can probably find a friend with more tomatoes than time who is willing to hand them over to you for free or buy them at reasonable prices at the area farmers markets.
Green Tomato Relish
Use a food processor for the vegetables if you have one. An optional for spicy relish is to add 2 to 4 habanero peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced.
6 large green tomatoes, cored and finely diced
1 green, 1 red and 1 yellow sweet bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
2 small red onions, finely diced
1½ tablespoons salt
1 cup apple-cider vinegar
1 cup water
1½ cups sugar
½ tablespoon celery seed
4 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons prepared mustard of choice
1 / 2 cup milk
Rinse and finely dice the vegetables and transfer them to a heavy, 6 quart or bigger sauce pan.
Add the salt, vinegar, water, sugar and celery seed.
Bring the pot to a boil on high heat, stirring occasionally and set a timer for 15 minutes.
Make a paste of the flour, mustard and milk.
After the mixture has boiled for 15 minutes, add the mustard paste, stirring constantly and continue to boil for another 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Cool and serve on hot dogs and hamburgers, deli sandwiches as a condiment on a cheese plate or anywhere else you would serve sweet or dill relish. This can be canned and stored, as well.
Makes 6 to 8 cups relish.
Green Tomato Pie
Green tomato pie tastes almost exactly like apple pie when it's cooked.
8 small green tomatoes, thinly sliced, skin on
¾ cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
¾ cup dark corn syrup (Karo)
¾ cup warm water
¼ cup flour
1½ teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
2 (9-inch) prepared pie crusts
Ice cream, milk or whipped cream, for serving
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil while you rinse, then thinly slice the green tomatoes. Transfer the sliced tomatoes to a mixing bowl. When you've finished slicing the tomatoes, cover them with the boiling water and allow them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, drain the tomatoes well, and pat dry. Combine the sugar, syrup, water, flour, spice and salt in a mixing bowl, whisking well and set aside.
Line a 9-inch pie pan with a crust, pressing firmly and poking a few tiny holes throughout the bottom of the crust with a fork. Fill the shell with the green tomatoes so they're evenly distributed and fill the pan to about an inch below the rim. Then, slowly add the sugar, syrup and seasoning mixture so it fills the nooks and crannies. Stop adding the sugar mixture when it reaches the same level as the top of the tomatoes.
Add the top crust, crimping the edges and making a few decorative cuts or poking a few holes in the top. Transfer the pie to the refrigerator for another 20 to 30 minutes before baking.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees, and bake the pie (on a cookie sheet with an edge to avoid messes) for about 45 minutes or until the top of pie has browned.
Allow the pie to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Serve as you would apple pie, with ice cream, milk or whipped cream.
Makes 1 9-inch pie.
Fried Green Tomatoes
1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
1½ cups frying oil or bacon grease, divided
3-4 large green tomatoes, cored and sliced into ½-¾ inch thick slices, skin on
Jalapeno-Dill Sauce (see recipe )
Combine the flour, corn meal and Old Bay in a mixing bowl. Heat about ¼ cup of oil or bacon grease in a cast-iron skillet or sauté pan on medium heat until hot. Add one slice of tomato to the flour mixture at a time, pressing the coating onto both sides and into any gaps. Very lightly shake off just a little of the excess and transfer the tomato slices, one at a time, into the hot oil. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes on the first side, or until brown, then flip and cook the second side for an additional 6 to 8 minutes. Use a thin spatula to carefully flip the tomatoes. You can continue to flip both sides until they are golden brown. The tomatoes and breading will soak up all of the oil in the pan.
Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess grease. Then, hold completed tomatoes in a warm oven until all of the tomatoes are cooked.
Cook in batches, add ¼ cup of grease each time and allowing it a few minutes to heat up. Repeat the cooking process until all the slices are cooked.
Serve hot with a dollop of Jalapeno-Dill Sauce.
Makes 15 to 24 slices.
This sauce can also be used as a dip for chips or a topping for grilled salmon or chicken. Make this at least an hour before cooking your tomatoes, and set it in the refrigerator so the dill flavor in the sauce has time to develop.
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
4 large jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 tablespoons dried dill weed
1 teaspoon dried, granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried, granulated onion or 2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoons lemon juice
A few dashes Red Hot or similar Louisiana-style cayenne-pepper sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Combine the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Cover, and set aside in the refrigerator before using. This sauce will hold well in an airtight container, refrigerated, for 7 days.
Makes about 2 1 / 2 cups.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Undersized Beachum quietly excels at 1 of game’s pivotal positions
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu, Taylor unlikely to play, Harrison ‘ready’
- Michigan State defensive coordinator a Pitt coaching candidate
- Pitt: Football coach hire comes 1st, athletic director 2nd
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Penguins’ defensive depth proves valuable
- Hotel building boom sweeps Pittsburgh region
- Brass plaque stolen from McKeesport veterans memorial
- Penguins notebook: Kunitz ‘really close’ to return
- Pitt’s acting athletic director is deft facilitator
- Man involved with crash with officer dies in Pittsburgh hospital