Friday, September 25, 2015

Sandbridge Tomato Stacks

I'm spending the waning summer weeks (I know it's officially Fall, but it still feels like summer here for the most part!) at Virginia Beach cooking for an eclectic group of very appreciative musicians, and I am fortunate to have a most excellent produce stand (Cromwells Produce) within reach to help me plan meals. I have a basic plan of "fish, veg, salad, bread, dessert" for each day, and the good folks at Cromwells make specifics easy by offering up a lovely array of seasonal goodies from the adjacent farm. Gorgeous green beans, tomatoes, squash, kale, sweet potatoes, onions, poblano peppers and more make appearances on the dinner menu. And I also make fun nibbles for "happy hour", and while pondering aloud what I should do to take advantage of the incredible tomatoes, Elizabeth at Cromwells gave me the idea for a Tomato Stack, which I translated to fit my group.

Prep for "baked not fried green tomatoes"
Each week, there's a different group of people, and within each week, there are folks who have various allergies, sensitivities and/or food preferences. I want happy eaters, so I do what I can to make dishes that everybody can enjoy. Sometimes there are a few alternate choices when a main dish can't be totally converted, but I was able to make versions of this app to suit everyone this week. I'm listing the recipe as I made it, with notes on possible substitutions. It was a huge hit, and will make appearances in various forms as long as the tomatoes hold out while I'm here! When I made this last night, a lot was "eye-balled" in quantities and proportions, and it was made to feed 26. What I have below is an attempt to bring it down to "serves 6", but in lieu of exact measurements, I may use proportions and/or suggestions. I'll refine once I make it with pen and paper in hand. :)

Sandbridge Tomato Stacks

Tomato Stack

(serves 6 ... ish)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

6 medium/large green tomatoes
6 medium small red tomatoes (I was able to use a gorgeous tiger-striped variety)
1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (of course if you're not gluten free, you can use regular Panko)
Cayenne Pepper
Dried Basil leaves
Dried Parsley leaves
3 Duck eggs, or 4 regular eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup coconut milk (or 'milk' of your choice)
Soft Goat Cheese
Kalamata Olives, halved

In a wide rim bowl, whisk 'milk' into beaten eggs. In another small bowl, combine bread crumbs with salt, cayenne (both to taste) with a generous sprinkle of dried basil and parsley.

Slice green and red tomatoes into approximately 1/4" slices. Lightly coat a baking sheet with canola or coconut oil spray. 

One by one, dip each Green Tomato slice in egg mixture, then into bread crumb mixture, coating both sides. Shake off excess, but keep well coated and place on the oiled baking sheet. Bake at 425 about 15-20 minutes, or until crumbs are beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.


On top of a baked green tomato, place a small dollop of goat cheese, then a slice of red tomato. Lightly sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Place another very small dollop of goat cheese* and then place 1/2 kalamata olive on top. Continue with the rest of the tomatoes, then when assembled on your serving tray, sprinkle dried basil and parsley over the whole tray. May be made ahead, refrigerated and brought out to room temp before serving.

*You may notice in the picture, that the olive is secured by a green dollop. Here at the beach, I made an Avocado/Spinach/Artichoke heart dip the night before, and used it to secure the olive. That recipe is not included as I really have to make it again before I can even remember everything that went into the bowl!

Ruckus - asst. mgr. at Cromwells