“What are you going to write about this week?” a friend asked while we were shuffling from side-to-side and grooving to one of my favorite bands, the Yule Logs*, at a Chico State Christmas party.
“Green tomatoes,” I shouted.
“Again?” she said, now yelling as Marty Parker began to croon.
The music was loud or I would have suggested that she try to write about gardening 50 times a year without repeating a topic. I doubt the Yule Logs play entirely different songs each time they dress up in outrageous costumes and blow fake snow at the audience.
Yes, I’m writing about green tomatoes — again. Maybe I’ll write about green tomatoes until Valentine’s Day. I have a mind to start a blog dedicated solely to green tomatoes. Forget about teaching or working with international programs at Chico State, maybe my future fortune will be made selling green tomato Christmas ornaments and lime-green plush toys.
My future assistants at the Green Tomato Empire will publish a cookbook that will fold into the pocket of green tomato aprons. For the holidays, we’ll sell calendars, with each month dedicated to the varying stages of tomato growth, including helpful and humorous cultivation tips and recipes.
I do believe there is a partially untapped market among green tomato fans, including those who reached out in earnest after my previous, and misinformed, disdainful writing about the unripe fruit.
I won’t quite call myself a convert. However, I discovered that green tomatoes are exceedingly excellent when toasted at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
On the warm side
Recently, my friend Thor was en route for a visit, and my house was so cold, I was wearing my jacket and beanie cap.
When you live in a small, old house, there’s little need to turn on the wall furnace. You can bake dinner and heat up the house with one simple turn of the knob. My oven is conveniently located about 8 feet from the edge of my couch.
The baking sheet was covered with cauliflower and I decided to throw in some green tomatoes that might otherwise rot in the colander on the cold kitchen counter.
Double yum. Sweet and chewy, and even better with a bit of Tapatio sauce … I regret deeply that I gave away so many green tomatoes to a coworker and my totally cool neighbor, Del.
Baked green tomatoes: the new comfort food.
I also found some tips online about using a melon-baller to make a half circle on top of the green fruit, then sliding in some slivered garlic and a dollop of oil. That sounds nice, but more work than necessary.
The Spruce Eats, https://bit.ly/2E8mNnH, also recommends:
- Using green tomatoes as a bread-free base for eggs Benedict.
- Serving slices of green fruit with soft mozzarella and (out-of-season) basil and balsamic vinegar — green Caprese.
Scott, who owns the long-loved Brooklyn Bridge Bagel shop downtown, https://brooklynbridgebagel.com/, sent a note to suggest spicy pickled tomatoes. I’m thinking I’ll buy a jar of pickled cauliflower and carrots, eat them, then save the juice for sliced green tomatoes. Three weeks in the fridge should do the trick.
Maybe Scott will be inspired to start a new menu item, with a bagel, pickled green tomatoes and cream cheese, red tomato slices when in season. Of course, I’ll want credit but will forgo royalties.
Michael shared a childhood memory of sharing good times with grammy while making green tomato relish. If he sends the recipe, I will gladly revisit this topic.
Another kind couple wrote that they make green sauce, substituting green tomatoes when the recipe calls for tomatillos.
That’s enough for now about green tomatoes. I need to save some material for next week.