Recipes to Capitalize on Your Farmers’ Market Finds
One of the best things about summer on the Llano Estacado is the chance it affords us to eat the freshest foods. With our climate, our locally-grown options can dwindle in the winter time (although, there are some great options for growing food in cooler months here). So every year when June rolls around, we’re ecstatic. We are happy about the idea of cooking outside and filling our plates with the best nutrition the High Plains can provide. This year should be an especially good year for becoming a fresh-eating locavore if you haven’t already. The quenched soil has not been fighting the farmer this growing season. Get to your local market soon to pick up items for the following recipes.
Roma Tomato Confit:
We know this sounds pretty upitty, but it’s not. Confit is basically the technique of slow cooking something in oil. With this dish, you could use these slow-roasted tomatoes on grilled bruschetta, pizza, burgers, or as a side to your steak, fish or grilled chicken. Plus, after you’ve used your tomatoes you will be left with a garlic-tasting, robust oil perfect for drizzling on salads with vinegar or dunking crispy bread into around the fire pit with friends.
This recipe appeared courtesy of chef Lenny Russo in the Food & Dining section of TwinCities.com available here:
Makes 2 cups.
- 2 pounds Roma or other plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups grapeseed oil, sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil
To Roast Tomatoes:
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes and garlic in baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Pour oil over top. Cover tightly with foil. Roast for 30 minutes.
To Cool Tomatoes:
Remove from oven. Carefully remove foil, making sure to release steam away from your face. Cool to room temperature.
To Make Confit:
Transfer tomatoes to jar or container with tight lid. Pour in oil, making sure tomatoes are completely covered. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 months.
Read the rest of the story (“Here’s what local chefs make after visiting farmers’ markets”) here.
Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa (Salsa de Chile Fresco Asado):
While this recipe isn’t what you’d normally consider “Tex-Mex”, we can guarantee it’s delicious. The recipe is from chef Rick Bayless who is the American authority on Mexican Cuisine. He’s from near our neck of the woods—Oklahoma City. You might have seen his show on PBS “Mexico: One Plate at a Time“ or heard of his Chicago area restaurants. What we are saying is, Bayless knows Mexican…
This recipe will be a little on the spicy side considering it does not call for any sweet tomatoes. However, we think a few thrown in would bring the heat down a bit if needed. It is also normal for peppers to be milder when grown in wetter seasons. Proceed with caution.
This salsa recipe appeared courtesy of Rick Bayless in Food & Wine available here: Makes 1/2 Cup.
- 4 ounces fresh hot green chiles (about 4 medium jalapeños, 16 medium serranos, 2 medium hot banana/Hungarian wax or 12 medium green or yellow-orange habaneros—really any small hot chile)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Turn on the broiler and adjust the rack to its highest level. Break the stems off the chiles, cut them in half lengthwise and lay them, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the garlic cloves among the chiles. Slide under the broiler and roast until the chiles are soft and blotchy black in places, about a minute or two. Scrape into a blender or food processor and add the lime juice and 1/4 cup water. Process until nearly smooth. Pour into a salsa dish and thin with a little additional water if necessary to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Taste (cautiously) and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Cover and refrigerate (for up to 5 days) if not using right away.
Spicy Steak and Potatoes: For two lovers of green chile spiciness, cut two medium-large (10 to 12 ounces total) red-skin potatoes into quarters, scoop into a microwaveable bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and microwave until tender (about 4 minutes). Prepare your charcoal or gas grill—you want the fire medium hot. Smear 1/2 of the salsa (best made with jalapeños for this preparation) over your favorite steak—I like 10 to 12 ounces of ribeye. Lay steak and potatoes on the grill (I put the potatoes in a grill basket) and cook until as done as you like, turning from time to time.
Copyright 2005, Rick Bayless Mexican Everyday, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
This recipe was perfected in Food & Wine’s test kitchen here.
Outdoor Grilled Pizzas:
If you’re not making homemade grilled pizzas yet, you are missing out! They are fantastic, not only because you can create your own, but because the flame-kissed crust gets so crispy you’ll likely mistake it for a pie cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven.
An outdoor grilled pizza is the perfect delivery method for every kind of local garden bounty. You can throw zucchini and squash on it to add more color. You can, also, use the herbs from your garden to season it and it’ll likewise take any meat you can throw at it as well. The biggest problem with making an outdoor pizza is that it is hard to know when to stop adding all your favorite toppings. My crust is known to buckle under the weight.
See the recipe for the pizza pictured above here.
If you need a primer on the process, visit Simply Recipes to see their Margarita pie recipe with directions here. They also have a homemade crust recipe if you don’t want to buy it in a can.
These Aren’t the Only Things You Can Make With the Fresh Tomatoes & Peppers
Once you’ve decided on a recipe or decided that you will freestyle your own, don’t forget to include a round of fresh Panhandle peppers. Try slicing them extra-thin if you only want a little bit of spice. Another great topping to include would be your fresh-made Roma tomato confit. A drizzle of the oil right before slicing would really put your pie over the top in the taste department.
Of course, this isn’t the definitive list of tomato and pepper recipes, but it is enough to get you going. We can guarantee you will see plenty of pepper and tomato varieties throughout the regions’ farmers markets – both grow very well in our area. It is just another reason it would be a shame to not enjoy them as often as possible. Make the recipes above and tell us how you liked them or what you would do differently. And as always, get in touch with us if you want to share your own tomato and pepper recipes, but hurry, farmers market season is only so long!