The Delicious Legacy of Heirloom Tomatoes

eaEDM June 2014t.drink.MISSISSIPPI
June /July 2014
Recipes, photos, and cover

An heirloom tomato is any tomato variety that has been passed down from generation to generation. The flavor of an heirloom tomato is thought to be far superior than that of its hybrid cousins. Slice into one and you’ll soon see why. Heirloom tomatoes come in a variety of colors, patterns, shades and flavors. If you are looking to take full advantage of the summer tomato season, heirloom varieties are the way to go.

Heirloom Tomato Pie

  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 recipe buttermilk biscuit dough (see below)
  • 2-3 ripe heirloom tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 ounces (2/3 cup) shredded Swiss cheese
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped herbs such as basil, parsley, and oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Position rack in the middle of the oven. If using a pizza stone, place stone in the oven to begin preheating.

Sprinkle cornmeal over a clean work surface that can be used later to transfer the crust to the oven, such a pizza peel or parchment paper. Pat the dough into a 5-inch round. Then roll dough out into a 13-inch round using a floured rolling pin.

Arrange the tomato slices over the crust, leaving a 1-1/2 inch border.

Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, herbs, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Place dollops of the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

Fold the border over the tomatoes to form a crust. Transfer the pie to your preheated pizza stone or a baking sheet. Bake pie for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Remove pie from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

Serves: 4

Buttermilk Biscuit Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chilled unsalted butter or shortening
  • ¾ to 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Add three-quarters cup of buttermilk, and stir until dough comes together and begins to leave the side of the bowl, adding additional milk if necessary.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly knead 10 times.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Heirloom Tomatoes

  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (1 ½ teaspoons dried)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches if needed, add the chicken skin side down to the pan. Sauté until the skin is browned, about 5 – 7 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add the fennel to the pan and sauté until browned on all sides, about five minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.

Add the chicken broth and the tomato paste to the pan. Stir tomato paste is completely dissolved. Add the tomatoes and and herbs cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Spread tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Nestle the chicken thighs in the sauce. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Allow chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serve with tomato sauce drizzled over the top.

Serves 6-8

Heirloom Tomato Salsa

  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Serrano chili, seeded and minced

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large airtight container. If not serving immediately, store leftover in the refriderator.

Makes about 2 cups salsa

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