Having grown up on a farm, I still grow vegetables. For years it was tomatoes, beans, corn, broccoli, cauliflower and whatever else I had room for (I don't have acerage, just your average size lot (8900 sq. ft. - for California anymore, that is a large lot!!). But the last few years it has only been tomatoes.
Now, if you did not know, you NEVER refrigerate tomatoes! It depletes the flavor. The best way to eat a tomato is right off the vine, warmed by the sun. Nothing on earth like it!
Being married to an Italian, I make a mean sauce. Most times I just serve it over pasta. But my preference is to make Manicotti or Lasagna.
My favorite way to cook tomatoes is Fried Green Tomatoes.
1 large green tomato (one just starting to ripen will do, as long as it is very firm)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (my preference is Progresso - brands do make a difference!)
1 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese
Combine the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in a shallow dish (for all three, I like to use pie tins).
Put flour in a shallow dish and beat the eggs and place in a separate shallow dish.
Peel the tomato. Cut out the top core of the tomato. Place it top down and slice 1/2 - 3/4" thick. You want to slice across so that you are slicing across the narrow part of the tomato, not the widest part.
Coat each slice with flour. Shake off excess flour and coat with egg. Making sure that you have allowed all the excess egg to drip off, then place in the dish with the bread crumb/cheese mix. Coat well, pressing the crumbs well on both sides. On a firm paper plate, sprinkle the bread crumb/cheese mix to coat the bottom of the plate. Take the coated tomato and place on the plate. As you have covered the bottom of the plate with tomatoes, before you place extra tomatoes on top, sprinkle the top of the tomatoes on the plate with more crumbs. Contine as above.
Set the tomatoes aside for 1 hour.
To fry, put 1 to 1-1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a skillet. Allow to heat so that when you sprinkle a few crumbs in the oil, it really fries good. Place just enough tomatoes in the skillet so that there is room between each one.
Here is where you want to watch because they are going to fry quickly.
As soon as you see the outer bottom edges of the tomatoes brown, turn over and continue to fry. At this point, you won't be able to judge when the other side is brown. You will just need to watch closely, picking each piece up until you see that they are LIGHT brown. You do not want them to get really brown, or they will be overdone.
I have ready aluminum foil laid on the counter beside the stovetop with a cookie rack placed on top.
As you remove the tomatoes from the pan, place on the rack to drain. When you have finished frying all the tomatoes, put a double layer of paper towels on a firm paper plate. Place the tomatoes, single layer, on the paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
IF there are any still on the plate by the time you are done, then they can be served with a little of your homemade spaghetti sauce on it. Or refrigerate any remaining tomatoes.
The next day, you can pre-heat your oven to 425. Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet. Place a slice of provolone or mozzarella cheese on top of each one. Place in the oven long enough to melt the cheese. Remove and enjoy.
Someone sent me this funny about tomatoes I wanted to share with you.
One day, while taking a stroll, she came upon a gentleman neighbor who had the most beautiful garden full of huge red tomatoes. The woman asked the gentlemen, "What do you do to get your tomatoes so red?"
The gentlemen responded, "Well, twice a day I stand in front of my tomato garden naked in my trench coat and flash. My tomatoes turn red from blushing so much."
Well, the woman was so impressed, she decided to try doing the same thing to her tomato garden to see if it would work. So twice a day for two weeks she flashed her garden hoping for the best.
One day the gentleman was passing by and asked the woman, "By The way, how did you
make out? Did your tomatoes turn red?"
"No," she replied, "but my cucumbers are enormous!"