Heirloom Tomato Fun | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Heirloom Tomato Fun

With the right ingredients, heirloom green tomatoes make great healthy recipes.

With the right ingredients, heirloom green tomatoes make great healthy recipes.

Last year, a friend gifted me with the perfect sweet purple heirloom tomato from his garden. This year, I was inspired to grow one of my own. Sadly, the "purple" tomato we planted was mislabeled, and I ended up with a tasteless red disappointment that split its skin when ripe.

It turned into a happy accident when I realized the plant was loaded with green tomatoes. Thus began my quest for all green-tomato recipes. I experimented and came up with a healthier fried green tomato, baking instead of frying it, and a recipe for a zesty verde salsa.

Baked Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce and Shrimp

Green Tomatoes

Many baked or fried tomato recipes call for thinly sliced tomatoes. I prefer thick slices, which retain that nice tangy tartness but are still meltingly soft.

2 large or 4 small to medium-sized green tomatoes, thickly sliced

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare a cookie sheet by spraying lightly with canola oil. Combine seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow bowl that is large enough to coat the tomato slices. Place beaten eggs in a similar bowl. Dip tomato slices in the egg, then place in breadcrumb and cheese mixture, taking care to pat mixture gently onto entire surface. Place coated slices on cookie sheet. Bake until brown for 10 to 12 minutes, then turn the tomatoes and bake for 10-12 minutes on other side.

Remoulade Sauce

I find some remoulade sauces are a little too heavy on the mustard. This one is a little more gently seasoned, but you can customize by adding more mustard or cayenne pepper or hot sauce to your preference. This recipe makes enough for leftovers to enjoy on sandwiches or as a dip for vegetables.

2 tablespoons Creole mustard

1/2-1 teaspoon horseradish (to taste)

1 tablespoon of garlic, finely minced or pressed

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients and chill. This lasts up to a week in the refrigerator. Makes 1 cup

Shrimp

Shrimp boiled in flavored water would work well in this dish, but here is an easy way to saute them in seasoned olive oil. Plan on using about three medium shrimp for each serving.

1 pound shrimp, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. When a sprinkle of water sizzles when added, it's time to add the shrimp. Saute them for two minutes, add roughly chopped garlic and cook one minute more. Plate immediately to avoid overcooking. Taste, then season with salt and pepper, if desired.

To serve, stack three baked green-tomato slices, placing the desired amount of remoulade between each tomato. Top with additional remoulade and three shrimp. Sprinkle with parsley or arugula for a delicious presentation.

Green Tomato Salsa Verde

You can chop the veggies for this dip by hand for a chunky texture or make it in a food processor for a finer consistency. Taste as you go and adjust seasonings to obtain the balance of spices you prefer.

2 medium green tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1-2 Tablespoons lime juice

1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients, chill and serve with tortilla chips. Makes about 2 cups.

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