The Block Island Times

Tomatoes, tomatoes

By Becky and Mike Ballard | Sep 05, 2012

Is there anything better than a fresh, juicy-red, garden-grown tomato? As one of our continuing themes each summer, we feature all sorts of ways to enjoy our bounty of tomatoes, both regular-sized and cherries. Of the recipes that follow, some are new and some are requests from other years that bear repeating. We hope you are able to have a garden — even if it’s small — and that your tomato crop is abundant.


Grecian Orzo Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Grilled Shrimp

Another way to enjoy all those “cherries”


1 teaspoon lemon zest

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh dill weed

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


16 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined

1 cup orzo pasta

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

¾ cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/3 cup pitted, quartered kalamata olives

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, including tender green parts

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano

4 bamboo skewers soaked in water for about 30 minutes.

Chopped parsley for garnish

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Place the shrimp in another small bowl. Pour ¼ cup of the dressing over the shrimp and toss to coat well. Reserve remaining dressing. Cover shrimp with plastic wrap and marinate at least 30 minutes.

For the salad: Fill a saucepan two-thirds full with water and a little salt. Bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook nine minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain well and place in a bowl. Stir in the remaining vinaigrette, the cherry tomato halves, feta cheese, bell pepper, olives, green onions and oregano, and toss well.

Thread shrimp on skewers. Place directly on a hot grill and cook, turning once until shrimp is just done inside and lightly browned on the edges, 4 to 5 minutes.

To serve: Spoon orzo salad onto 4 individual plates and top with a skewer of shrimp. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.


Tomato Salsa

The best over any kind of grilled fish

1 pound tomatoes cored, seeded and finely chopped

4 green onions, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon fresh, minced cilantro leaves (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon sugar

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Toss mixture well. Taste for salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature at least an hour before serving.

Serves 4.


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Serve as a main dish or an appetizer.

3 tablespoons minced, fresh basil, plus 1 cup fresh basil leaves

¾ cup olive oil (divided)

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

6 pounds fresh tomatoes, cored

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 ½ tablespoons minced, fresh thyme leaves

1 ½ cups chopped onion

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor puree 3 tablespoons minced basil leaves with ¼ cup olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Arrange tomatoes in a baking pan large enough to spread them in one layer. Drizzle with ¼ cup olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic, thyme and a little salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes, turning occasionally, for 1 hour.

In a soup kettle, heat remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Cook onion over moderate heat, stirring until soft. Add roasted tomatoes and 1 cup basil leaves, and cook mixture for 5 minutes. Add broth; cook for another 5 minutes.

Force mixture through a food mill over a large bowl. Discard pulp. Return soup to kettle. Stir in cream; check for salt and pepper.

Serve soup in individual bowls drizzled with a little of the basil/olive oil puree.

Makes 12 cups soup.


Tomato Chutney

The perfect partner with grilled chicken.

2 cups sugar

3 cups cider vinegar

2 tablespoons peeled, minced, fresh ginger root

2 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly crushed

½ teaspoon dried, hot pepper flakes

3 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and quartered

3 onions, chopped

1 cup golden raisins

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, ginger, salt, coriander and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add tomatoes, onions and raisins. Simmer, stirring occasionally, an hour or an hour and 15 minutes until mixture thickens. Transfer to covered containers and store in refrigerator, or process according to canning instructions.

Makes about 3 pints chutney.


Chaiwallis’ Tomato Pie

From a great little restaurant in Salisbury, Conn.

1 eight-inch pie crust, your own or purchased

2 pounds fresh tomatoes, sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Salt and ground black pepper

1 ½ cups (about 4 ounces) grated cheddar cheese (divided)

1⁄3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Layer sliced tomatoes in bottom of pie shell. Scatter basil and onions over tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Add layer of 1 cup of the grated cheese.

Mix mayonnaise with the lemon juice and drizzle over the cheese. Top with remaining ½ cup of cheese.

Bake 25 minutes.

Serves 6.


Gazpacho Andaluz

From Mike’s first trip to Spain, 1963

1 cup peeled, cored and finely chopped, fresh tomato

½ cup cored and finely chopped green pepper

½ cup finely chopped celery

½ cup finely chopped cucumber

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cups tomato juice

1 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons snipped parsley

1 teaspoon snipped chives

Combine all ingredients except the parsley and chives. Chill thoroughly (about 4 hours). Serve in individual bowls garnished with the parsley and chives.

Serves 4.

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