Even as we move deeper into the holiday season, after nearly a week of Thanksgiving leftovers, many of us wouldn’t mind turning the calendar back a few months for a chance to revisit the pleasures of eating fresh tomatoes with basil and other herbs.
Depending on where you live, access to fresh local tomatoes is all but impossible this time of year, but it need not be a hopeless challenge to find good tasting tomatoes at the supermarket for eating raw in salads, or as the main ingredient in savory dishes. I find smaller cherry and grape tomatoes, as well as Roma tomatoes, to be the most flavorful and least likely to disappoint.
Basil, and a wide array of other herbs, is not problem to get hold of either. Available in small plastic containers, or even as live plants, choose the herbs you need and try others you may not be familiar with. When using fresh herbs, keep in mind you’ll need three times as much of a fresh herb as you would dried.
Used with permission, the recipe here for Paula Deen’s Savory Tomato Pie, is good offered as an appetizer. Accompanied with a salad, the pie makes a fine main course. And, if you’re craving soup, do try the Basil Tomato Soup. It’s nice garnished with croutons, homemade if you have the time.
Both recipes require blanching the tomatoes before use, and the directions for this simple cooking method follows the recipes.