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Week 10 Finalists- Best Tomato Recipe

August 28, 2009 • 0 Comments

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BLT Panzanella by Meredith Shanley

What struck us immediately about Meredith Shanley's recipe was its cleverness. That and the fact that it calls for bacon. In a smart maneuver, Meredith not only uses cubed bacon in the salad, but she saves some of the drippings for the dressing, a bright lemony affair made creamy with Dijon mustard and a touch of mayo. The juices from the tomatoes meld with the dressing, helping to make a little go a long way, and peppery arugula keeps the salad from being too rich. Resist the temptation to use too much bread, or the salad won't be balanced the way it should be.

We sliced the ciabatta into large cubes -- probably just more than 1" square.

Meredith Shanley calls for dry toasting, and after just a few minutes in the oven, the bread was just that: dry and toasted.

Although the recipe called for slab bacon, we used very thick cut, and it worked well.

The bacon cooked super quickly. Be sure to reserve the fat for the dressing!

We diced the tomatoes to about the same size as the bread.

The dressing uses bacon fat, olive oil, and mayonnaise, and the three fats result in a delicate, creamy dressing.

We added the dressing and seasoned the salad before adding the arugula.

The arugula added a nice peppery flavor to the salad.

Handsome. The end.

My Grandmother's Tomato Bisque by The Weary Epicurean

This recipe is half about seeking out the best ingredients possible, and half about an unexpected technique. There are only three ingredients on the list (not counting salt and pepper), which means everything needs to be just right: juicy, red tomatoes and good-quality butter and cream. The Weary Epicurean has a way with words, guiding you colorfully through the unusual method of sautéing blanched, seeded tomatoes with butter in a cast iron pan before madly stirring in the cream. The resulting mixture is rich, chunky and rustic -- a homemade cream of tomato soup that along with some thick toast and a green salad would make a perfect meal for a cool, late summer evening.

The ingredients couldn't be simpler.

First, The Weary Epicurean has us briefly blanch the tomatoes.

We halved the tomatoes on the horizontal plane -- made the seeding much easier.

While we prepped the tomatoes, we heated the butter, and managed not to burn it.

As always, we seasoned aggressively.

The tomatoes really broke down in the butter after about 20 minutes.

We removed them from the heat, Merrill donned an apron, and we added the cream.

We stirred to combine, gently broke the tomato pieces apart with the back of a spoon, and seasoned to taste! That's it!

 

 

 

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