Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tomato Water Dressing: The Foodist Favorite New Recipe

A few goodies from our city garden

At this time of year, many of us are cooking, slicing, and chopping as many wonderful tomatoes as we can get our hands on at the local markets, as well as harvesting what our urban mini-farms are putting out. There's nothing like eating a freshly picked tomato off of the vine.  I don't make it back into the house most times with our Sun Gold tomatoes - I pick, spritz, and eat.  My big old Coon Hound loves them as well.  People come to the garden and say, gee, what were  these?   This while staring at a tall bush of, well, branches.  I inform them that the bush was - and will be again - the glorious Sun Golds.   Bless them, they just keep growing!  The time for these treasures, fresh at least,  is short - so we are compelled to use them in all sorts of ways. One of our favorite tomato "recipes" is, I am sure, one of yours:    Is there anything in the world like a really wonderful Jersey - or Lancaster County - tomato with fresh, soft, sliced white bread, thick slices of the tomato, a bit of salt, perhaps a few slivers of fresh basil ,and a spread of real mayonnaise? This, my friends, is the paradise of the summer months.  I am salivating just writing these sentences!  But you all know about that.  Now for a use of something "tomato" we discovered last weekend.

Many recipes calling for sliced or chopped tomatoes require that they be salted, placed in a colander and "drained" for awhile.  For many preparations, this makes absolute sense.  That said, we found ourselves wondering what we could do with this "tomato water" - this liquid is produced quickly and as such isn't the same depth and consistency as the wonderrful consomme made by hanging chopped tomatoes in cheese cloth for hours and straining it and flavoring it.  No, this is truly just the quickly produced - usually 15 minutes or so - juice that flows through the colander holes. We felt that this juice in most cases has a high acidic content - so why shouldn't it serve as the acid in dressings?   Here is one tested recipe; we are working on a number of others:

Tomato Water Dressed Potato Salad

Note:  when a recipe calls for salted and drained tomatoes, chopped or sliced, just place the colander in a bowl so that you catch the juice shedding off of the tomatoes.  Don't do anything to it - especially, don't strain it.  Your can store the juice in a jar in the 'fridge for a few days.

Cook  8 - 10 Baby Rose Golds potatoes - washed and skins on (cut into bite sized pieces) in boiling, salted water until just fork tender (if you can't find yukon golds or baby roses, use other larger potatoes, but chop them well)

While the potatoes are still hot, toss them with about 1 - 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar and a pinch of salt - let the potatoes cool
Note:  go easy on the salt, the tomato water will be salty

In a large bowl, mix together finely chopped red onion, finely chopped celery, and some summer savory leaves

To the mixture in the bowl, add about 2 tablespoons of the collected "Tomato Water"; about the same amount of extra virgin olive oil; 2 tablespoons good mayonnaise; and some white pepper.

Mix this together and add the cooled potatoes and gently stir the potatoes into the dressing.

The layers of flavor are amazing!  The vinegar on hot potatoes is something we have been doing for a long time - it doesn't really identify as vinegar in the final taste of the potatoes - and the hot potatoes absorb all of it, but it gives a heightened "potato" flavor to the spuds.  The flavor of the tomato water comes through subtly and wonderfully in the dressing.

Frankly, we decided this could be a main course for us - with maybe some sliced tomatoes and salad greens on the side! - but it is obviously wonderful for potato salad as a side dish.

I"ve shown you mine - let's hear from you!!

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