Sun 7 Aug 2011
I have loved farmers’ markets for years. There was a nice urban market a couple of blocks away from the office where I worked for the past several years (before I took leave for the sabbatical I write about here).
Every Friday in season I would drag one or two of my colleagues over to check out the market and see what was happening. Inevitably I would receive grumbles from a colleague who just wanted to grab a quick bite to eat at lunch time. But soon I was winning converts for the unique pleasures or fresh locally grown produce and the community atmosphere these markets provide.
I liked going every week and seeing the season progress from those first early greens, to the abundance of late summer and the late arrivals right when the market packed up for another season in early November.
Now with more time, and living in an area where farming is still a major occupation, if I choose, I have the luxury of visiting a farmers’ market just about every day of the week within a reasonable distance of the house.
I will be blogging here and there about the various markets, the people I have met and the items I have found.
FOUND: the glorious Plum Lemon Tomato
Today, I would like to rave about the plum lemon tomatoes I discovered recently at the wonderful Farmers’ Market in Tamworth, NH.
I was attracted to the lovely display of tomatoes presented by a local grower, Mivida Gardens, and fell in love with the beauty of this small tomato that looks like a lemon. I was curious about this beautiful fruit and was told that it had a “sweet and mild” flavor and was perfect for stuffing.
I had never had a plum lemon tomato before, nor had I ever stuffed a tomato, so of course I had to try them.
I was with my good friend Lynda who was up for a weekend visit and she encouraged me to try stuffing the tomatoes that very night for our dinner. But what to stuff them with? Enter the Big Love Mexican Diner food truck parked nearby at the market. Big Love is worthy of their own post – which I promise to deliver soon – but for now they were the source of the unique stuffing for my tomatoes.
Lynda and I decided to try Big Love, a purveyor of Mexican-style food made with fresh local ingredients. We purchased a burrito and a few sides, one of which was a chorizo/potato hash. Our plan was to order the food and save it for our dinner. While discussing how to stuff the tomatoes, Lynda suggested using the chorizo hash. It sounded perfect – so that’s what we did.
I took the tomatoes and carefully sliced them in half lengthwise. I cut out the middle section – the white-ish part with the seeds – and placed them open side up on a small roasting pan. I brushed the tomatoes with a light dose of extra virgin olive oil and placed them under the broiler for about 5 minutes.
Next, I took small spoonfuls of the hash and placed it loosely into the tomatoes. I pushed the stuffed tomatoes together and topped them with the remaining hash and placed them back under the broiler for another 5 minutes.
The result was awesome: the sweet and tender tomatoes mixed with the spicy chorizo hash was a perfect combination. The tomatoes cooked this way were so delicate they melted in your mouth and allowed you to appreciate the complimentary flavors of the hash.
What did I learn? Once again, if you are not afraid to try new things and experiment, you may discover your new favorite thing.
I highly recommend seeking out these plum lemon tomatoes, or any tomato that lends itself to stuffing and finding something fun to put into them. Let your imagination fly!