Around here, heirloom varieties
cost five dollars a pound at the farmers market. But just
once, treat yourself to a salad composed of slices from three
or four kinds and see why chefs get so excited about these fragile
beauties. Ask the farmer at the stand to suggest a varied collection.
Here, I would get a pink-fleshed Brandywine, a fuzzy-skinned
yellow-to-pink Yellow Peach, a striped Green Zebra and a handful
of Red Currants to scatter around them. Season this colorful
composition only with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a
few drops of good olive oil.
When meaty beefsteaks are a good buy, I make this succulent casserole.
Normally a side dish served warm, it is also good baked in the
morning, before the day heats up, to serve for supper. Accompanied
by ears of fresh corn and a green salad, you have a summer feast.
Summer Tomato-Rice Casserole
- Makes 6 main servings
(approx. 6 cups), 8 as side dish.
3/4 cups long-grain brown rice
4 ripe large beefsteak-type tomatoes, 2 1/2 - 3 pounds, cored
1 cup shredded lite three-cheese blend, such as mozzarella, Jack
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
Ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook rice according to package
directions; there should be 2 1/2 cups cooked rice.
Cut thin slice from bottom of
each tomato, discard it, and slice each tomato crosswise into
4 thick slabs. In mixing bowl, combine cooked rice, cheese, oregano,
ground and cayenne pepper and half the salt. In another bowl,
use a fork to combine the panko, garlic, oregano, remaining sal,
and olive oil. Season to taste with black pepper, and set aside.
Coat covered 2-quart heatproof
casserole with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tomato slices to cover
bottom of the casserole. Using half the rice mixture, cover tomatoes.
Top with another 4 or 5 tomato slices, then remaining rice. Finish
with another tomato layer, overlapping the slices to cover the
Cover casserole and bake for
45 minutes, until casserole is moist. Uncover, and sprinkle topping
evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until
topping is lightly colored, tomatoes are very tender, and casserole
is bubbly under the topping. Let casserole sit for 20 minutes,
or serve lukewarm.
Per 1- cup serving: 180 calories,
6 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate, 10 g protein,
4 g dietary fiber, 460 mg sodium.