What’s Fresh: Tomatoes & Eggplant
By Kelsey Johnson
August is finally here! And while we may see some of our summer favorites phase out; such as black raspberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and rhubarb, there are still so many local flavors (and colors) to feast on. Adding to the Iowa color spectrum, firry red & orange tomatoes, as well as royal-worthy purple eggplants are ready for their summer introduction. We will also be seeing the beginning of black berries, peaches, and apricots coming on shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.
This week our featured recipes are simple, and utilize local ingredients. Our first recipe is as delicious as it is beautiful, and courtesy of Wheatsfield Co-op. The second is thanks to Wabi Sabi Farm and their Turtle Farm Recipe Archive, which combines tomatoes, eggplants, onions in one easy casserole.
Grilled Tomato, Pesto, and feta pizza
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 8-10 minutes | Servings: 4-6
- 3/4-lb. fresh pizza dough
- 4 tomatoes, sliced (multiple colors, if available)
- Sea salt
- 1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought
- 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- 2-3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
- Balsamic vinegar or dressing, for drizzling
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Arrange tomato slices on a jelly-roll pan lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt, and let stand while preparing the rest of the recipe. Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a well-floured surface, and pierce dough liberally with a fork. Place all prepped ingredients next to grill, ready to go. Carefully place dough on grill. It’s ok if it is misshapen. Grill until grill marks appear on bottom of dough and it releases easily from grill, just a few minutes (depending on the temperature of your grill). Watch closely to avoid burning. With tongs for help, flip crust over on grill and, working quickly, top with pesto, tomatoes, feta and rosemary. Cover grill; grill until crust is cooked through, just a few minutes. Again, watch closely to avoid burning. Removed from grill. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar or dressing. Cut into squares or triangles with a sharp chef’s knife or pizza cutter.
Tian of Eggplant and Tomato
- 1 large eggplant ½ tsp. salt
- 4 large yellow onions, peeled
- 8 ripe tomatoes
- 3 T. dried basil leaves
- 1 T. dried thyme leaves
- 6 T. grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 c. fruity olive oil
Peel the eggplant. Slice into thin rounds and sprinkle with salt. Put in a colander and let drain 30 minutes. Slice the onions and tomatoes very thin. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a 12 x 8-inch rectangular or oval baking dish, place a layer of onions, top with a layer of eggplant, using half the eggplant then a layer of tomatoes, using half of these. Sprinkle with 1 T. basil and 1 tsp. thyme. Repeat this process.
Make a final layer of thinly sliced onion. Sprinkle with the cheese and remaining basil and thyme. Pour olive oil evenly over the vegetables and bake for 3 hours, uncovered. Several times during baking, press down the vegetables with a spatula. Remove from oven and drain liquid from the tian. Serve hot, cut into squares or thick slices.