Why we chose it
Though tomatoes, contrary to what one may think, are fruits, they serve as versatile ingredients from which many delectable dishes come from. From eating the fruit like an apple – yes, according to our editor, that is a real thing – to mom’s famous tomato sauce, the juicy red produce is the perfect addition to any meal.
About this article
- This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of 400-The Life, a publication of the Forsyth County News. To read the entire magazine, click here.
What’s in the name?
The origin of the fruit’s English name, “tomato,” derives itself from “tomatl,” its name in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec people who were the first to cultivate the produce. Originally, the English word was “tomate,” though it later transformed into its name today.
While many often think of the produce as a vegetable — many cooks will fight you tooth-and-nail calling it a vegetable — scientifically, a tomato is actually a fruit. To be considered a fruit, produce must develop from the ovary in the base of the flower and contain the seeds of the plant. While tomatoes aren’t sweet, they are, nonetheless, fruits.
There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes, though some of the most common ones are cherry tomatoes — the smaller, tougher kind — Roma tomatoes — a type often used for pasta sauce — and beefsteak tomatoes — larger, heavier fruits often used in sandwiches and paninis.
Even though they are scientifically fruits, the tomato is the state vegetable of New Jersey.
Just One Cookbook — recipes that highlight our ingredient of the month
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4-6 tablespoons cold water
4 large heirloom tomatoes, cored (about 2 pounds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
½ cup thinly sliced shallot
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
4-6 ounces semisoft goat cheese (chevre) or feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
Fresh basil leaves
- In a large bowl, cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender until pieces are pea-sized. Stir in Parmesan and cracked pepper. Sprinkle one tablespoon of cold water over part of the mixture; toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all of the dough is moistened. Form dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or until easy to handle (up to 24 hours).
- Slice the tomatoes about ¼ inch thick and arrange on a wire rack over a baking pan, sink or paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let drain for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 13-inch circle. Fold in half to transfer to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper; unfold.
- Evenly spread bread crumbs on pastry, leaving about a 2-inch border. Layer tomatoes, shallot, thyme and goat cheese on bread crumbs. Fold crust over filling, pleating as necessary and leaving some filling exposed in center. Combine egg and 1 tablespoon water; brush on edges of pastry.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is browned and crisp. Cool at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with fresh basil (snipped if leaves are large) and cut into wedges.
Source: Midwest Living