The Kitchen Workshop: Tomatomania! with Scott Daigre

TomatomaniaKitchen Workshop host Mary Reilly, editor and publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley, speaks to Scott Daigre about his book Tomatomania. Written with Jenn Garbee, Tomatomania tell us all we need to know about selecting, planting and growing gorgeous juicy tomatoes!

We talked about planting the perfect tomato plot and his favorite tomato recipe. Learn more about becoming a tomatomaniac at www.tomatomania.com.

Favorite Tomato recipeMy Favorite Tomato Recipe

Rigorously tested countless times. Foolproof. Pick a ripe, beautifully colored, and slightly soft tomato off the vine. The only thing better than trying this with one perfectly ripe, juicy tomato? Trying it with ten perfectly ripe tomatoes of different colors and types. You’re welcome!

WASH IT. (Or not.)

CUT IT. (Or not.)

SALT IT. (Or not.)

EAT IT. (Best done outdoors.)

Sure, many of you will eliminate the salt-it step and that’s fine with me. You’ve worked really hard to get to this step and final product. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the basic essence of this crop you’ve grown in your own backyard. Dive right in!

Pineapple (Tomato) Upside-Down Cake

Makes 1 cake; 8 to 10 servings

image001Super sweet and citrusy tomatoes alike are pretty near perfect in this rustic cornmeal cake. Use bicolor yellow varieties splashed with streaks of red, such as sweet Pineapple tomatoes (you bet there is a Pineapple variety!) if you have them. Citrusy green tomatoes mellow a bit color-wise when baked, but are also fantastic.

1 pound (1 very large or two medium) very ripe, sweet tomatoes

8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided, plus more to butter the cake pan

½ cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons orange zest, packed (about 1 medium orange), fruit reserved for juicing

1 teaspoon lemon zest, packed (about 1 medium lemon)

½ cup honey

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Crème fraîche and honey, to serve (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Slice the tomatoes 1⁄3 inch thick and spread them out on paper towels to drain.
  1. Melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and cook just until the sugar is melted, about 1 minute. Pour the brown sugar paste into the prepared cake pan and immediately spread it out as evenly as possible using a heat-proof spatula. Combine the orange and lemon zests and sprinkle 1 teaspoon over the top of the brown sugar.
  1. Combine the remaining 8 tablespoons butter, honey, eggs, sour cream, orange juice, and remaining 2 teaspoons of orange-lemon zest in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix well. (Alternatively, use a hand mixer.) In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, add the butter mixture, and mix until just combined.
  1. Blot any moisture off the tomatoes and arrange them decoratively in the bottom of the pan. (I like to leave a little space between the slices to see the patterns in each). Pour the batter over the tomatoes. Bake until the cake is lightly brown, starts to pull away from the sides, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, place a serving plate on top, and (wearing oven mitts!), flip the cake onto the plate. Allow the cake to cool completely. To gild the lily, serve the cake with a dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of honey.

Prime picks: Sweet bicolors like Pineapple, Gold Medal, or Grandma Viney’s Yellow Pink, or citrusy green varieties such as Ananas Noire (Black Pineapple) or Aunt Ruby’s German Green.

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