The tomato seedlings we bought from Henkle's Herbs and Heirlooms at the farmers' market last spring have morphed into one gigantic tomato hedge with collapsed tangled limbs limping over their cages, meandering and entwining at will. Amid the twisted growth, tomatoes poke through the trapped fallen leaves and dried up branches. Crazy
Oh sure, we're happy to have tomatoes this late in the season. Who wouldn't be happy? They just feel weird and out of place. A few mornings ago, I watched a confused squirrel try to bury a bright red tomato in his winter war chest. Welcome to the club, little buddy.
Eventually, I'll roast them.
Or juice them.
Or throw them at the garage.
Right now, the tomatoes are still so damn perky. Cheery, even. Happy looking. Undaunted by the recent dreary weather, grey skies, chilly rain, and cooler temperatures, I embraced their out of season swagger and threw together an October heirloom tomato salad. Sacrilege.
I sliced Black Carbon, Orange Minsk, and Red Jetsetter tomatoes into thick discs. To boost the flavor, I sprinkled them with sea salt and placed them in a colander over a large bowl to drain. After 20 minutes, I slid the tomatoes onto a large plate and used the salty sweet drippings for a broken tomato vinaigrette (1/4 cup tomato water, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, cracked pepper, and snipped chives).
I split a few Yellow Pear, SunSugar, and Supersweet tomatoes, and set them aside. For textural contrast, I grabbed another handful of the tiny sweet tomatoes, carefully scored the bottoms, and dropped them into boiling water for 5 seconds before plunging them into ice water. Their skins slid off like slippery smooth silk stockings. Easy. Hidden treasures.
As an unconventional nod to a caprese salad, I halved a Madison County Key Largo sweet red pepper, removed the seeds, and stuffed the halves with fresh mozzarella cheese. After topping them with crisp candied bacon and diced green peppers, I slid them into a 350 oven to roast for 20 minutes.
Every salad needs crunch, so I peeled and deveined 8 jumbo shrimp, dredged them through flour and egg wash, wrapped them each with shredded phyllo dough, and deep fried them in 350 degree oil until they were crisp before scooping them onto paper towels to drain.
Crisp. Fresh. Clean. Unexpected.
A simple salad from our garden jungle.
Now, it's time to carve the pumpkins.
Or cook them.