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Newton at the Farmers' Market: Tomatoes and Basil

Ever come home from the Farmers' Market with wonderful ingredients but no idea what to do with them? Here are some suggestions of recipes to make use of all of the bounty from the Newton Farmers' Market- or your home garden.

Throughout the summer and early fall, I will be spotlighting various merchants at the Tuesday Cold Springs Market and sharing recipes prepared with their produce and products.

Merchant: Kimball Fruit Farm, Pepperell MA

What they sell: Corn, peaches, nectarines, seedless grapes, blueberries, apples, beans, eggplant, squash, lettuces, collard greens, broccoli, radishes, kale, scallions, carrots, peppers (hot and sweet), basil (purple and green), a huge assortment of heirloom and cherry tomatoes

Coming soon: Cantaloupe, honeydew and musk melons; yellow doll watermelons; table grapes; pears; more varieties of tomatoes, peaches, nectarines and apples.

What they say: “Oh boy! I like lots of things about the Newton Farmers’ Market! It’s set in a park, so on the hottest day it’s not that bad. It’s also a family crowd – lots of kids. The kids can learn about the seasonal produce and about the farm.” – Marie Hill, owner

Panzanella (Tomato-Bread Salad) – Serves 4

Ingredients:

Croutons:

  • 4 – 5 cups focaccia, ciabatta or other crusty, porous bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used Olympic)
  • 2 -3 large cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence or a mix of dried basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme, crushed

Salad:

  • 4 heirloom tomatoes, various types (I got mine at Kimball’s Fruit Farm and used Pink Girl, Carbon and Purple Russian varieties)
  • 10 leaves of green basil, washed, dried and cut into chiffonade  (see photo – I used Kimball’s)
  • Croutons (see above)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 – 3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed (optional)
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into ½-inch dice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Croutons:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °
  2. Mix olive oil with other non-bread ingredients.
  3. Toss bread cubes with olive oil mixture and mix well.
  4. Spread cubes over a foil-lined, rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown
  5. Allow to cool fully before putting in salad.

 Salad:

  1. Wash and dry tomatoes.
  2. Using a serrated or tomato knife, cut all of them in half horizontally (see picture) and remove seeds by using fingertips and gently squeezing over sink (or bowl if you want to save “tomato water” for another use).
  3. Cut out and discard cores and any hard imperfections (a feature of heirlooms).
  4. Roughly chop tomatoes, placing pieces in strainer after each half and wiping down cutting board as needed.
  5. After all tomatoes are chopped and in strainer, give it a few good shakes to remove as much more of the water as you can.
  6. Place tomatoes in bowl and add basil chiffonade.
  7. Add croutons and mix well.
  8. If using garlic, add to olive oil and mix well.
  9. Drizzle salad with olive oil (and garlic) and balsamic vinegar and mix well.
  10. Set aside (DO NOT REFRIGERATE) for at least an hour to allow flavors to marry.
  11. Just before serving, add in mozzarella, salt and pepper and mix well.

 

BBLTA (Better Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado) Sandwich – Serves 4

Ingredients:

Basil Aioli:

  •  2- 3 large cloves garlic, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, rinsed and dried (I used purple basil from Kimball’s)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sandwich:

  • I pint cherry tomatoes (I used mixed heirlooms from Kimball’s)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and coarse-ground pepper to taste
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, prepared as desired
  • 1 avocado, peeled and quartered
  • 8 –ish leaves of “adult” arugula or handful of baby arugula (from Kimball’s)
  • 1 oblong loaf ciabatta, sourdough or any crusty porous bread

Directions:

Aioli:

  1. In bowl of food processor, place chunked garlic cloves and basil leaves and chop using “pulse.”
  2. Add egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne and pulse again.
  3. Scrape down bowl.
  4. With motor running, drizzle in oils until mixture thickens and looks like a thick mayonnaise.

Sandwich:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil.
  3. Cut cherry tomatoes in half (smaller ones can be left whole), and place cut side up on cookie sheet.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes.
  5. Place tomatoes in bowl while still hot and add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  6. Mash with back of fork to make a jam-like mixture.
  7. Allow to cool.
  8. Slice bread lengthwise.
  9. Assemble sandwich as to your liking, using aioli on one half of bread and smashed avocado on other.
  10. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice sandwich into four portions.
Wendy Schapiro September 03, 2011 at 03:54 PM
My mother, a far more experienced food writer than I am, suggested I add the following caveats (and I am in complete agreement): 1) The aioli for the sandwich recipe makes far more than you would use for just the four sandwiches. My suggestion would be to use the remainder as a dip for raw veggies, as it will keep in your refrigerator for 4 - 5 days. 2) Also, the consumption of raw or undercooked eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illnesses, particularly if you are in a high risk group. The aioli cannot be made without raw eggs, so if you have any concerns just replace the aioli with a good store-bought mayonnaise well blended with a clove or two of garlic, a teaspoon of mustard and some finely chopped basil.

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