• Mediterranean Tomato Tour: Spreads to Breads

    Without tomatoes, there’s no gazpacho, no marinara sauce, no pizza alla margherita. From Barcelona to Beirut, Mediterranean cooks depend on tomatoes, and the vaunted Mediterranean diet would be a lot slimmer without them. In many kitchens, canned tomatoes are the fallback position in winter, but they never quite measure up. Most canned tomatoes contain additives like citric acid to preserve them and calcium chloride to keep them firm. They are a distant second—best to a fresh tomato.

    With NatureSweet tomatoes, your favorite Mediterranean recipes can taste great all year, not just in summer. You don’t have to put recipes like eggplant parmigiana and insalata caprese on hiatus for months because you can’t get tasty fresh tomatoes. Now you can.

    NatureSweet’s sandwich-sized Jubilees and bite-size Glorys, Cherubs and SunBursts have consistent garden-grown fragrance and vine-ripe flavor year round. So put those fresh tomatoes back on the menu. You can “tour” the entire Mediterranean coast with the following recipe ideas… all of them dishes where canned tomatoes just won’t do:

    From Spain:
    Pa amb tomaquet: Grill or toast a thick slice of day-old bread. Rub one surface of the toast with a halved garlic clove, then rub with a halved Jubilees tomato until only the tomato skin remains in your hand. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt.

    From Southern France:
    Make a couscous salad with cooked couscous, halved Cherubs and SunBursts tomatoes, chopped mint and parsley, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

    From Italy:
    Make a flatbread topped with Glorys tomatoes, Parmesan and basil. Watch Chef Sandy Sauter demonstrate the recipe. Grilled Jubilees Tomato Flatbread.

    From Greece:
    Sauté peeled shrimp in extra virgin olive oil briefly and set aside; make a fresh tomato-basil sauce in the same pan; return the shrimp to the sauce and cook until done. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and broil just until the feta softens.

    From Turkey:
    Grill lamb brochettes. Serve on flatbread with roasted Glorys and SunBursts tomatoes and yogurt-garlic sauce.

    Tomato Flatbread 2From Syria:
    Bake a flatbread topped with finely diced Jubilees tomatoes, za’atar and extra-virgin olive oil.

    From Israel:
    Make a variation on traditional hummus with the addition of roasted tomatoes; Chef Adam Busby demonstrates the method here. Roasted SunBursts Tomato Hummus.

    From Morocco:
    Make a salad with Cherubs salad tomatoes, chopped roasted green peppers, capers and preserved lemon.

    Tomatoes with a Latin Beat

    empanadaTomatoes are fundamental in the Mexican kitchen—in salsas, quesadillas, ceviche, guacamole and more. The tomato originated in the Americas, after all, so it’s hardly surprising that generations of Mexican cooks have devised tasty uses for it. Traditional cooks from Sonora to Oaxaca rely on tomato sauce at least as much as Italians do, and the former mastered it first.

    There is no “off season” with NatureSweet tomatoes so you can ditch the canned tomatoes for your south-of-the-border recipes and use flavorful fresh tomatoes year round—in taco fillings, in menudo or in the savory turnovers known as empanadas, like these Mini Empanadas Stuffed with Tomato and Ground Beef. Mini Empanadas Stuffed with Glorys Tomatoes, Jack Cheese and Shredded Chicken.

    One technique of note: Mexican cooks frequently roast or char tomatoes to concentrate their flavor, heighten their sweetness and add a toasty aroma. The typical method calls for charring tomatoes with their skin on—on a griddle, under a broiler, or over a gas or charcoal flame. Then the blackened skin is removed and the peeled tomatoes are chopped or pureed. This preliminary roasting contributes a signature flavor that immediately identifies the dish as Mexican.

    Nature Sweet QuesadillaSlow-roasting yields more of a brown-sugar taste as the tomato juices evaporate and the sugars caramelize. Chef Adam Busby demonstrates the technique in this video, using halved Glorys and SunBursts tomatoes. Blistered Glorys and SunBursts Tomato Quesadillas with Roasted Tomato Salsa. The flavor intensity is off the charts, so you need just a handful of these candy-like tomatoes to invigorate a cheese quesadilla or a salsa.

    You can use Chef Busby’s slow-roasted tomatoes in non-Latin dishes, too:

    • Toss with pasta, basil and grated ricotta salata.
    • Scatter on pizza.
    • Stir into scrambled eggs with chorizo.
    • Sprinkle on a frittata before it sets.
    • Spoon over ricotta-topped bruschetta.

    Many of Mexico’s countless salsas require tomatoes, both raw and cooked. The small cherry and pear tomatoes, such as Glorys, SunBursts and Cherubs, perform well in raw salsa (salsa cruda) because they hold their shape. As you watch Chef Busby make Shrimp Cocktail with Cherry Tomato and Mango Salsa, imagine other uses for this lively fruit salsa. How about as a dip for tortilla chips or a condiment for grilled tuna steaks, pork chops or sausages?

  • Mushroom Fact

    Men are more likely to enjoy tomatoes on a sandwich, while women are more likely to say they enjoy tomatoes raw and by themselves.

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