Tomato Season with Melissa Clark

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fresh tomatoes are one of the best parts of summer eating, and Melissa Clark shares ideas for how to make the most of them this season. She's New York Times Dining Section columnist and cookbook writer, and her most recent cookbook is Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make.



Melissa Clark

Comments [40]

regina from Centerport, NY

Love Melissa Clark's enthusiasm! Please pass on to her that it wasn't blossom end rot that has been a yearly affliction, but Late Blight. And, unfortunately, yes it's here on Long Island (Riverhead) right now!

Thanks for a great show!

Aug. 13 2013 01:41 PM
YUMIKO from New Jersey

"Umami" was first scientifically identified in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda,but it was always used in daily Japanese dishes. It's usually taken from dried bonito flakes, dried shiitake mushroom or dried konbu(sea weed). I used to wake up with the sound of my mother shaving a dried bonito (which looks like a small log.) into flakes to make Miso-soup when I was a child. Nowadays many people use a packed bonito flakes for convenience,though.

Aug. 12 2013 03:09 PM

Perfect dinner for a hot day: Chop up fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, halves green olives with pimento, sliced fresh mushrooms, sliced zucchini. Put it into a glass bowl. Cover with olive oil, salt and pepper. Leave it out all day. At night, cook pasta and serve tomato mix on top.

Jul. 30 2013 01:30 PM
Chuck Beatty

Oh tomatoes! thankyou for doing this show, and staying on top of tomatoes!

Jul. 26 2013 07:52 PM
Piero from Riverdale

What about the perfect tomato companion: basil?
In Italy it's so common to use basil in any sauce or fresh tomato dish from Panzanella in Florence or Caponata in Naples.
In southern Italy cultivation of tomatoes is so important that's called "red gold".
Great show! I love Melissa's laugh!

Jul. 26 2013 12:50 PM
Lois from Flushing

I roast halved tomatoes, usually the plum variety but any in- season variety will do, at 425 degrees with salt pepper, olive oil and if handy shredded fresh basil until they get soft and wrinkly. Cooking time varies with the moisture in the tomato It makes a wonderful spread and replaces or enhances mayo or butter on a sandwich.

Jul. 26 2013 12:47 PM
Linda from Jersey Shore

the guy who called in with the anchovy sauce recipe that he cooks over really low heat. I do that too. It is the BEST BEST sauce ever. It actually sticks to your lips. I think that anchovies that are canned whole and salted are the best for this recipe. I use to get them at DiPalos but they don't carry them any more. I think I'll seach for them online today. THANKS for a great segment

Jul. 26 2013 12:44 PM

On heirlooms vs hybrid tomatoes... There are thousands of heirloom varieties and there are thousands of pretty bad tasting heirlooms too. Once upon a time all these different heirlooms were hybrids - that's why there are so many. To get an heirloom, one must select "the unique hybrid" and then grow for 6 or 7 seasons constantly selecting for the best representative of the new variety until all the tomatoes "stabilize" and produce what was first the "hybrid". Heirloom tomatoes are "open pollinated" which means that all seeds will produce a consistent crop.

Some modern hybrids taste GREAT. Don't think that heirlooms are necessarily better. How the tomato is grown, the weather and the soil are the real determinants of flavor. So if it looks good and tastes great - Go for it - heirloom or hybrid.

Jul. 26 2013 12:40 PM
Valerie from Manhattan

Umami is a Japanese word. UMAI! is what you say when something is delicious. -mi turns it into a noun, so it's flavor, or deliciousness.

Jul. 26 2013 12:40 PM

Umami - Japanese

Jul. 26 2013 12:40 PM
paul debartolo from NYC

old school jersey style; French bread, sliced toms, American cheese, salt, pepper, Mayo

Jul. 26 2013 12:37 PM
Sandy from Long Island

Please ask your guest how to make fresh tomato soup without any dairy products.

Jul. 26 2013 12:37 PM

we have a 25 x 50 foot garden - three section - two dedicated to tomatoes! YUM. We eat them anyway we can - but, w/fresh made garden basil pesto and good italian bread is the best - w/a large glass of Vino! Cheers - Great show.

Jul. 26 2013 12:36 PM
Lisa from East Harlem

A food mill, or mouli si, I think, what you're talking about Melissa.

If I have less-than-perfect tomatoes (or even perfect ones), I halve them at the equator, sprinkle with fresh breadcrumbs, thyme, garlic and olive oil; broil until bubbly

Jul. 26 2013 12:35 PM
Liz from Glen Cove

This segment is making me crave a panzanella salad, and my husband Fred is now en route to Rottcamp's (the last working farm in Nassau County, to get me some tomato and basil. We always have stale italian bread around! Leonard and Melissa, can you give him a shout-out as he drives?

Jul. 26 2013 12:35 PM

Ms. Clark... no vowel at the end. Sorry.

Jul. 26 2013 12:33 PM
Rachel from Sunset Park

I like a Peruvian sandwich with tomatoes. The traditional method is 3 slices of white bread with tomatoes, avocado and egg salad. It's called a triple in Peru.

I do mine with whole wheat bread and 2 slices.

Need to salt.

Jul. 26 2013 12:32 PM
antonio from baySide

Is tomato paste hard to make?

Jul. 26 2013 12:32 PM
Tim from Nyack

Thank you Ms. Clarke for pronouncing the "a" at the end of mozzarella! Note to second and third generation Italian-Americans: The vowels at the end of Italian words get pronounced!

Jul. 26 2013 12:31 PM
mickey from nyc

Summer meant tomato, light rye bread and mayo sandwiches. I learned how to make the when I was 5.
Now my fave sandwich, created by Crosby Connection, RIP, is, lettuce, thin slices of: tomato, avocado, red onion, smoked gouda, green apple, olive oil & balsamic on nice hearty bread. Squishing helps hold it together and spread the flavour.

Jul. 26 2013 12:30 PM
Dorothy from Manhattan

Tuna in olive oil -- Trader Joe's

I have 2 cans in my cabinet now:
Solid light yellowfin
Solid white albacore

About 2.29 each -- probably not quite as good as the Italian or Spanish, but easy to get.

Jul. 26 2013 12:29 PM
antonio from baySide

I have to say organic tomatoes really make a difference for sauce...

My girlfriend and I have tried adding some dried spices (it's actually a sqab/hen rub, you can find it in fairway) along with fresh herbs and the other usual suspects (garlic, sage, cipollini onions kosher salt)...

Thanks BTW for the tip of adding sugar, our recent sauces have been awesome!

Jul. 26 2013 12:29 PM

Kumato tomatoes are the best tomato you can buy in your grocery store. They are brownish green and very very tasty even though they are greenhouse grown.

Jul. 26 2013 12:29 PM
darrie lawrence from nyc

what do you think of kumatoes (brown tomatoes)... flavor texture great, thick skin... a good alternative to good juicy in season tomatoes if you can find them....
and I remember from my 1950's childhood, almost sweet juicy thin skinned tomatoes from my grandfather's garden... they seem to have disappeared... closest thing is the Brandywine heirloom...
that's it
I love tomatoes

Jul. 26 2013 12:28 PM
The City Cook from NYC

This Tomato Jam is savory and with a kick and it's outstanding to serve with eggs, cold meat, or as a crostini topping along with some softened goat cheese. The recipe is by Irish chef and cooking teacher Darina Allen and while it calls for canned tomatoes, it would be easy to substitute peeled, fresh NJ tomatoes, adjusting the cooking time for how juicy the tomatoes may be:

1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes or 4 to 6 cups of chopped peeled and cored fresh tomatoes
2 to 4 chili peppers, sliced (with or without seeds, depending on your heat tolerance)
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped, about 2 heaping tablespoons)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup cider or wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Drain the tomatoes, saving the juice. If using fresh tomatoes, peel and chop them, saving any juice that may result.
Place the chilies, garlic, and ginger into a food processor or blender and purée until a fine paste is formed, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the fish sauce and the saved juice from the tomatoes. Continue to purée for about 10 seconds more.
Pour the mixture into a non-reactive medium saucepan. Add the drained tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar. Slowly bring to a simmer and continue to cook at a gentle simmer until thickened and jammy, about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you want a smoother texture you can use use an immersion blender to purée the mixture until it's smooth, but leaving the jam thick and chunky is very appealing.
Let cool and store covered and refrigerated.

Jul. 26 2013 12:24 PM
shabnam irfani from New Jersey

Tomatoes Chutney Sandwich

2 Slices of wheat bread, toasted and lightly buttered
2 TBSP Coriander Chutney
6 slices of fresh tomatoes
4-6 slices of cucumbers
4 slices of paneer (homemade is better)
Chat Masala (optional)
Salt & Pepper

Toast your bread; spread the butter and coriander chutney. Layer 3 tomatoes slices, 2-3 cucumbers slices, and 2 paneer slices on each piece of bread. Sprinkle chaat masala, salt & pepper to taste on each side of the sandwich. I enjoy these as open face sandwiches!

Jul. 26 2013 12:24 PM
Claire from Bed-Stuy

Instead of canning and putting up sauce in the summer--because slaving over a hot stove in summer is something to avoid--I blanch and peel them and freeze them in 1 L. bags. We use them one bag at a time all winter for sauces, soups, tagines, vegetable ragu and lasagne. Yum!

Jul. 26 2013 12:22 PM
robert from brooklyn

My wife has canned tomato sauce for the last few years. It's a lot of work, but worth it. There's nothing better to help get through the winter blues than a a taste of NY summer tomato gravy.

Jul. 26 2013 12:21 PM
Vincent van GoGo

Regarding the last suggestion, why would anyone add feta cheese to a pesto spread?

Jul. 26 2013 12:21 PM
Scott from PLG Brooklyn

It's not worth going through all the efforts of canning tomatoes... but you can freeze a lightly cooked sauce and it's super simple.

My wife and I did this last year when we got a Canning share (a full box of only Tomatoes) from our CSA

Jul. 26 2013 12:21 PM
Joel Hoffman from Westchester, NY

According to the Supreme Court, tomatoes are legally vegetables in part because they are usually eaten for dinner, not dessert:

(This is how New Jersey got away with making the tomato the official state vegetable.)

Jul. 26 2013 12:20 PM

I ALWAYS cook with the seeds and I NEVER cook the skins. Better to can the tomatoes whole and make the sauce batch by batch. Trying to make a huge batch of sauce is extremely time consuming and usually involves constant stirring and often burns at the bottom of the pot.

Jul. 26 2013 12:20 PM

It's a food mill. A Ricer presses through rather than grinding.

Jul. 26 2013 12:19 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I ALWAYS add some deep red wine, even cheap Gallo or the like. And maybe some cheap, pale dry cherry

Jul. 26 2013 12:19 PM

Sliced Jersey tomato with olive paste, green or black on toast rye.

Jul. 26 2013 12:16 PM
Tom from UWS

Use any flavorful tomato, plus the rest of the fresh stuff: cukes, onion, cilantro.

I'm having mine with equal parts watermelon and tomato, and bites of avocado. It's the best.

To dress itup now and then, add some sweet vermouth.

Jul. 26 2013 12:16 PM
Brooke from Brooklyn

Last night we made a tomato salad with harissa-infused olive oil! Shallots, parsley and a bit of lemon! (And salt of course!)

Jul. 26 2013 12:15 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Tomatoes and roses need manure in order to develop flavor and/or scent. Hydroponic tomatoes have no flavor and hydroponic roses have no scent.

Jul. 26 2013 12:14 PM
Phoebe from Bushwick

Does your guest have an opinion on Kumatos (the brown tomatoes). I find them super flavorful, but I tend to avoid vegetable that come prepackaged.

Jul. 26 2013 12:13 PM
Peg the constant tomato gardener from Finger Lakes

The Best Marinara Sauce (for 2)

Start with the 2-3 lb of best fresh tomatoes: the tongue varieties are the BEST - these are Polish Linguisa, Opalka, Jersey Devil, Jersey Giant. Amish Paste (a heart variety is also very good). You can find these at big farmers markets. San Marzano and Roma are ok (and really all fresh tomatoes) but the tongue types (they are long and look almost like huge peppers) are REALLY THE BEST.
You'll need:
1/4 c really good olive oil
3 or 4 chopped garlic cloves
2-3lb tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise (if they are really big, slice in quarters lengthwise)
sea salt to taste
fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan to quite hot
Immediately add garlic; it will brown in seconds so be ready to scoop it out and save for adding at the end
Immediately add the tomatoes skin in the oil and cover
The skins will loosen in a minute or two; turn down the heat and slide off the skins; and place the tomatoes in the oil, interior side down
Turn up the heat again, cover and cook till you can mash the tomatoes (3-5 min)
Add the salt, basil and fresh garlic
Stir a little to get all the basil leaves coated with sauce
Turn off the heat; leave the cover on for a minute or two
Serve on your favorite pasta, bread, polenta or however you like it
Garnish with Romano cheese if you like

YUM!!!!!!! Never fails to please

Naturally you can adapt this basic recipe to add other ingredients like mushrooms, meat, seafood, and other favorite herbs

Jul. 26 2013 11:34 AM

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