The Last Crop
|Green Tomato Casserole |
But, I haven't lost my enthusiasm for green tomatoes. In fact, I've become even more obsessive about them over the last several weeks , especially since I have a good view of my withering garden right from my kitchen window; I've been eying those green tomatoes for awhile now, so when my good friend M handed me Enda Lewis's cookbook, The Gift of Southern Cooking, I took it as an omen. Of course, Edna Lewis would know what to do with green tomatoes and when I opened the book to the exact page that this recipe was on, I knew a greater force was at work.
What can I say about this casserole other than if I were on a long walk to the electric chair, I would request it for my last meal. It is ethereal and full of flavor; the thyme and nutmeg are magical in pairing with the bitterness of the green tomatoes and the buttery bread crumbs. It's everything that Southern food should be--simple, flavorful, and soul-satisfying.
I encourage you to make this recipe, even if it means climbing over your fence and sneaking undetected into your neighbors yard to steal the last of his tomato crop. I encourage you to do whatever it takes to get your hands on green tomatoes; this dish will not disappoint you.
From The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis
Scalloped Green Tomatoes
4 large large green tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1 & 1/2 inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh nutmeg
4 slices crusty white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Put the green tomato pieces and the chopped onion into a large, nonreactive bowl, and season them with the salt, pepper and sugar. Add the nutmeg and the thyme. Toss well. Put bread cubes in a baking pan and drizzle four Tablespoons of the melted butter on top until they’re coated evenly. Put in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until they are evenly golden brown throughout.
Add these bread cubes to the bowl of tomatoes and toss. Taste, and adjust seasonings to your liking. Turn this all into a buttered 9-by-9 baking dish, and drizzle the remaining melted butter on top. Place a piece of parchment paper directly over the dish and then cover the whole thing tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes; then uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer.