Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tom Tom Club

The organic tomatoes are blushing

In a couple of weeks I will be able to start picking the first ripe tomatoes of the season. In the meantime it is tempting to use some of the still green ones in a few recipes . Cooking with green tomatoes may have evolved in cool climates where the last of the unripened summer crop had to be used up before the first frost killed the vines. Some interesting recipes for 'greenies' are included in the Lee Bailey book from 1992 Tomatoes (Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York) He includes a green tomato and apple pie which uses equal quantities of both fruit, with added lemon zest for what he describes as a very distinctive flavoured pie.I have not tried making this but I like his cornmeal coated pan-fried green tomatoes which are delicious with sausages and eggs for a big Sunday breakfast. In Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion there is a similar breakfast treat of 'green tomatoes and red onion with thyme and wine vinegar' (page 661) in the chapter on the herb thyme.
Green tomatoes are also traditionally used in the making of pickles,chutneys and relish which according to Richard Beckett in his book Convicted Tastes 'have long been used in Australia to relieve the tedium of cold meats such as corned beef and lamb'. Jars of green tomato pickle or chutney can still be bought at school or church fetes though it is sometimes wanting of an appealing colour. Most early Australian cookbooks such as The Golden Wattle Cookery Book and Homestead Fare include recipes which work well today. A more recent book, only 30 years old, A Beside Cookbook by the late Sheila Scotter , former Vogue Editor-in-Chief, includes a fantastic Chutney recipe and one which is guaranteed to retain 'a lovely green colour even after years in storage. What I like about the ingredients is that it includes 12 chillies.

1 comment:

  1. Ian, there is nothing sweeter than a big plumb tomato waiting to be plucked from the vine. I am you about spicy chutneys to add that bit of heat. The cookbooks sound interesting and I am sure filled with great recipes. If uou have a moment, I'd love the recipe for the chutney.