Scott Daigre, author of "Tomatomania: A Fresh Approach to Celebrating Tomatoes in the Garden and in the Kitchen," shares tips and tricks for growing, cooking with, and eating tomatoes - plus 3 tasty recipes.
This week, Scott Daigre, Tomatomania! founder and author of "Tomatomania: A Fresh Approach to Celebrating Tomatoes in the Garden and in the Kitchen," joins the Clever Cookstr to talk about his "reality gardening" approach to growing the world’s favorite summer treat. Through every step of the tomato gardening process, from the earliest planning stages to those final satisfying kitchen table moments of the season, Scott has tips and tricks to help you harvest the season's bounty.
Click the arrow in the player above to listen to the whole interview. Or download the episode from iTunes to learn:
- How Scott got passionate about tomatoes
- When and how you should start prepping to grow your own tomatoes
- The major varieties of tomatoes, and the myth of whether certain tomatoes only work for certain purposes
- How people treat tomatoes badly in home kitchens, and what you should stop doing
- Scott's tomato tips and tricks
- And much more!
After getting the low down on tomatoes from Scott, put your new knowledge to practice with these tasty recipes - which include his expert shopping and serving suggestions:
Green Tomato Salsa
Makes about 1¼ cups
Note: Frozen green tomatoes are too soft to chop up for salsa, so if you’re making this dish in the winter, substitute cucumbers or whatever other salsa-friendly veggies you have on hand.
- 1 large green tomato, on the softer side, chopped (about 1 cup)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion, chopped
- ¼ to ½ jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- Juice of ½ lime (or more to taste)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the tomato, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice in a medium bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and additional lime juice to taste.
Green Tomato Verde with Braised Chicken and Green Tomato Salsa
Makes 4 servings
In the fall, when the frost is threatening to make off with your last, not-yet-ripe tomatoes, pick them like mad, then make this riff on pork chile verde. It’s a great Sunday supper dish, chunky and stewlike and brimming with Swiss chard or whatever other fall greens you have on hand.
You can serve this over rice, or slurp it straight up as a stew. Shred the chicken, and the leftovers make a great enchilada filling. Vary the spiciness by reducing or increasing the amount of roasted chile peppers.
If you luck into a bumper crop of end-of-season green tomatoes, freeze them 2½ pounds to a bag, so they’re ready to roll for green tomato verde throughout the winter. Note: If using frozen tomatoes, thaw them first and reserve any accumulated juices to pour into the stockpot. You can pulse the tomatoes in a food processor or puree them in a blender. The texture will be smoother, but frozen tomatoes release so much liquid, they can be tricky (and messy!) to chop.
- 2½ pounds unripe (green) tomatoes, blemishes removed and roughly chopped, divided
- 1 cup roasted, peeled, and seeded poblano, Anaheim, or Hatch peppers (6 to 7 small or 3 to 4 large)
- ½ bunch cilantro (about ½ cup, packed), leaves and tender stems, plus additional leaves for serving
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed and fat trimmed
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning chicken
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves, preferably Mexican (if using powder, reduce to 1 teaspoon)
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, spinach, or other greens, ribs removed and roughly chopped
- Cooked rice, for serving (optional)
- Green tomato salsa, for serving
- Sour cream, for serving
Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and black pepper. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add half the chicken and sauté on both sides, flipping once, until lightly browned (about 3 minutes per side.) Transfer the chicken to a bowl and repeat with the remaining chicken. Set aside.
Add the onion to the pot and sauté until just beginning to brown (about 4 minutes.) Add the cumin and oregano, stir for 30 seconds, then add the puréed tomato-pepper mixture, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot (push the chicken down into the sauce so it is well covered.)
Cover the pot and simmer until the chicken is tender (about 30 minutes.) Add the greens and cook until just tender (about 5 minutes.) Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste.
To serve, place one chicken thigh in each serving dish with rice, if desired. Spoon the chile verde sauce over the chicken and serve with the green tomato salsa, sour cream, and reserved cilantro leaves.