Ah, the tomatoes are finally ripening, and the Walla Walla sweets are in. Even before the tomatoes ripen, they can be eaten green. Look for tomatoes that are getting close to turning color, past the hard and sour stage. Slice the tomatoes along the latitude lines (the fat way), about a quarter inch thick. Dip in beaten egg and then cornmeal or finely squished bread crumbs. Fry up gently in a little butter or oil. Fine, fine with your sweet onion omelet.
Green tomatoes also make excellent chutney (see the chutney recipe in the earlier post "Summer Frenzy") and the American standard, picalilli.
Picalilli (green tomato relish, goes way back to our British heritage)
Finely chop green tomatoes, onions (Walla Walla sweets are excellent here, any onion will do), optional green peppers, optional cucumbers, optional green apple bits, liberally salt with kosher salt and mix up well.
Let the whole lot drain overnight, then measure how much you have. Scald pint canning jars. For each six ounces by volume, add 1/4 teaspoon each mustard seed and celery seed, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and pack into jars. Pour boiling apple cider vinegar over the picallili to within a half inch of the top, add a few cloves and peppercorns to each jar, seal and steam or water bath can for 10 minutes.
Sweet Onion Omelet
Slice a whole Walla Walla sweet onion. Heat a little butter or oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion slices over a low heat until they are limp, translucent and starting to brown. Meanwhile, scramble some eggs, scoot the onions aside and pour the eggs in the pan. Then you can pull the onions on top the eggs and they won't overcook. I like to flavor it up with a little fresh basil, also going strong this time or year, a clove of garlic and some slivers of hot red pepper, but just a pinch of black pepper is also good, lets the onions shine. Then put thinly sliced cheese on top and cover. Let cook on low heat until done.
Sweet Onion Tart
Pastry crust: 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour, kamut or any favorite, with 1/4 cup butter or coconut shortening mashed in. Keep working it until it has the consistency of coarse bread crumbs, then add 1/4 -1/2 cup cold water until you can make a soft dough that sticks together.
Press the dough in an oven proof dish. The motivated may roll it out. Into the crust, put sliced onions, thinly sliced cheese, fresh basil leaves, a little savory and thyme and a grating of nutmeg.
Egg filling: 3-4 eggs, beaten with a little milk and 1 tablespoon sherry, brandy or whiskey. Pour filling over onions and bake at 375 degrees F until it sets (a knife in the center comes out clean.) Put a few fresh basil leaves on top for your presentation.
Serve with steamed new potatoes and whatever fresh garden veggies look good this week.
You notice that this local eating business isn't such a big deal - once you start cooking with what you can grow yourself or buy locally, you fall right into the rhythm of the seasons.