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Reader's tomato dishes make good sides

Fourth of July

Posted: July 1, 2014 - 2:31pm  |  Updated: July 2, 2014 - 8:00am

In my neck of the woods, it’s no secret who the good cooks are. Luckily, they are generous, too, frequently sharing the best of their best recipes. From Bluffton’s Sun City, Caroline Kennedy is one such cook, whose recipes have won contests, appeared in cookbooks and magazines (like Southern Living) and, of course, in newspapers, including this one. I’ve not yet shared Caroline’s recipes using fresh tomatoes and, with Fourth of July weekend meal plans underway, any one (or all) of them would make fine additions to a celebratory menu. Green Tomato-Basil Pie, robust with fresh basil and melted creamy Monterey Jack cheese, makes for a satisfying first course, or even a light meal. In addition, the pie may also be served as a side dish, along with grilled meat, fish or chicken. Equally good as a side is Greek Tomatoes, garnished with Italian flat leaf parsley, piquant capers and feta cheese. Add a few cracks of fresh pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and your Greek tomatoes are good to go. Caroline’s Marinated Tomatoes and Cucumbers are excellent, as well. In this dish, cucumbers and sweet onions are marinated and refrigerated in a basil-vinaigrette dressing overnight. The next day, twenty minutes before serving, some sliced fresh tomatoes are added to complete the dish. Side dishes have never been easier – or tastier, so long as your tomatoes – the main attraction here – are like Caroline’s recipes, the best of the best.

 

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Marinated Tomatoes and Cucumbers

Recipe courtesy Caroline Kennedy, Bluffton, S.C.

½ cup red-wine vinegar

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 sweet (Vidalia) onions, thinly sliced

6 medium red ripe tomatoes, sliced, drained*

 

In a large container, combine first seven ingredients. Add cucumber and onion, tossing gently. Cover and refrigerate overnight. *Add tomato slices 20 minutes before serving. Yield: 12 servings.

Green Tomato-Basil Pie

Recipe courtesy Caroline Kennedy, Bluffton, S.C.

1 (9-inch) unbaked pastry shell

2 to 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese*

1 bunch chopped fresh basil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 to 4 green tomatoes, sliced and patted dry with paper toweling

Extra-virgin olive oil

 

Place oven rack in middle and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pastry shell 5 minutes; cool on wire rack. Sprinkle shredded cheese over bottom of pastry shell.* Cover with chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange sliced green tomatoes over all and brush with olive oil. Bake about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve warm. Yield: 6 servings

 

*Kitchen Ade Note: For the purposes of this recipe, I placed two cups of cheese over the bottom of the pastry shell, topping the tomatoes with an additional cup of cheese during the last 10 minutes of baking. (The cheese topping should be nicely melted and slightly browned.) Allow pie to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Greek Tomatoes

Recipe courtesy Caroline Kennedy, Bluffton, S.C.

4 medium tomatoes cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

¼ cup capers, drained and rinsed

1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup minced fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Coarsely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

Place tomatoes on a decorative platter. Sprinkle with capers and next 3 ingredients; drizzle with oil. Serve right away. Do not refrigerate! Yield: 6 servings

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