I Can Never Get Enough Tomatoes

The intense heat of summer may feel overwhelming at times, but without it, those luscious, red orbs of tomato-y goodness would not exist.

Of course, even one plant can create a ton of fruit, and man can only eat so many tomato sandwiches. This recipe is sure to jump-start your cooking creativity.

Rustic, Creamy Tomato Sauce

Serves 4-6

2 pounds slicing tomatoes
2 jalapeños
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup crème fraiche

Preheat broiler. Set rack about 5 to 6 inches from heat. Cut tomatoes and jalapenos in half. Place them on a baking pan. Broil on both sides until tomatoes are lightly charred and skins are wrinkled and peeling off, approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side. Use tongs to rotate. Jalapenos will blacken and brown as well, and shrink down.

Let cool, then peel and coarsely chop tomatoes, saving juice. Remove seeds and stem, and coarsely chop the jalapenos and set aside with tomatoes.

While tomatoes and jalapenos are cooling, sauté onion in 1 tablespoon oil in a sauce pan or cast iron skillet until very soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for another minute Add onion-garlic mixture to tomato-jalapeno mixture along with salt, and puree well in a food processor or blender.

In same pan, heat 1 more tablespoon oil to very hot. Add puree to pan (it should sizzle and bubble) and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir continuously. Warning: it may splatter as well. Stir in stock and return to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered or until sauce begins to thicken.

Remove from heat and stir in crème fraiche. Season with more salt if necessary.

Amazing served over polenta.

Cheesy Tomatoes

Though it’s not quite time for tomatoes, the full-speed-ahead-to-summer temperatures are making me crave them.

This is a recipe that I’ve made for the past two summers, and every time I make it, I wonder why I don’t have it for dinner more often.

Cheesy Tomatoes Love Herbs

Serves: 4

1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon water
1 egg
1 package 8 oz Sierra Nevada Cheese Company Chevre, made into four rounds
4 very thick slices of fresh tomato (heirloom or slicing)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle for dressing
1 small head of curly endive (or frisée)
1 bunch cilantro (or you could use fresh basil)
1 bunch wrinkled cress (or you could use radicchio)
drizzle of red wine vinegar (If you use the basil & radicchio, use balsamic vinegar instead.)

Mix breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add water and work until crumbly.

Beat egg is a small bowl. Dip Chevre rounds in the egg and then the bread crumbs. Place in fridge for 15 minutes.

Place tomatoes on plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add olive oil to a skillet and heat on med/high until the oil is hot but not burning. Carefully place the Chevre rounds in the oil and cook 45 seconds, then flip and repeat. Place rounds on tomatoes.

Toss greens with the drizzles of red wine vinegar and olive oil. Add a little seasoning if desired. Heap 1/4 of the greens on each tomato slice, and voila!

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