Oklahoma Cooking: Roasted Red and Green Tomatoes With Fresh Herb Dip

This morning, the farmer’s market offered a surprise.  There were a few late peaches out of Porter, and still a good many Jonathan apples fresh off the tree.  However, I was especially happy to see a bowl of freshly ripened small tomatoes from the gentleman who opened Granny Had One in Guthrie years ago.  He said, “I just picked them last night.”  So, I bought three pounds, and went on my way…straight to my kitchen.  Later, I gathered a few peppers and some okra from my own garden and had to cut back several large tomato vines as they were growing out across my lawn.

About 100 small green tomatoes got sacrificed in the process.  Green tomatoes are actually quite versatile.  I knew I could make a small batch of relish, quarter them and put them into a casserole, create another ratatouille with them, or…of course, fry them.  But I wanted to create something simple to go with Sunday lunch or to eat while watching the football game.  So, I decided to try roasting the two ripeness levels of tomatoes together, and creating an herb dip to go with them.  I’m really glad I did, because the recipe worked very nicely.

The dish would stand alone for a vegetarian, serve as a great side to any center of the plate, or be a nice complement to a “dressed up” OR “dressed down” buffet.  Prep time is 10 minutes.  Cooking time is 25 minutes. And, the dip prep time is also ten minutes but can be made while the dish is cooking.  Here we go! First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Next…

Mince up two cloves of garlic…OR, do like I did and pull some garlic shoots and mince them.  When I substitute my garden garlic shoots for mature garlic, I sometimes scale back (about 1 shoot to two cloves – shoots are pungent).

Next, I cleaned about 1 pound of my green cherry tomatoes and prepped them by cutting the larger ones in half, and leaving the smaller ones intact.  Toss in the minced garlic or garlic shoots.

I then cleaned and prepped about 1.5 pounds of small cherry or very small ripe tomatoes (you can see there were a few black cherry heirloom in the mix), and either quartered them or halved them, being careful to cut out any core areas that were too tough and dark to eat.  The most important thing about the vegetable prep is to simply keep the tomatoes pieces or wholes as close in size as you can.

 Next, I chopped 1/3 of a large yellow onion, added about 1.5 teaspoons of sea salt, about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and drizzled in about 1/3 cup of olive oil.  You want all your pieces to be lightly coated with oil if possible.

I then gently stirred/tossed the mixture until the oil, salt, pepper and garlic seemed to be evenly distributed.  Next, drizzle about 1/2 T. of olive oil into your baking pan and spread evenly across the baking area with a paper towel or brush.  OR, use baking parchment or a silicone pan liner.  The baking dish is your choice.  I like to bake in the pottery my daughter creates, because it can be used as a serving dish as well.

Next, simply layer your mixture evenly into your pan, and bake for 25 minutes.  While this dish is baking, you can quickly prepare your dip.  Or sauce.  Or whatever you’d like to call it.  First, take about 10 chive strands and rough cut them so they’ll easily disintegrate in the blender (you can skip the cutting and just drop the strands in the blender if you have a good blender from unclutterer). You’ll also need a few basil leaves, and either 1/5th of a regular sized cucumber, cleaned and peeled…or what I used: a small fresh whole cucumber.  Measure about 8-12 oz of sour cream into a blender or food processor, throw in your green items, and about 1/2 t. sea salt.  Blend until the greens are smoothed into the sour cream, and the dip is turning slightly green.  Turn that into a serving container and hold in the refrigerator until the dish is done.

You’ll start smelling your dish just about time to pull it out of the oven.  The onions should be lightly tipped in brown, and a few of your smaller pieces should also be barely browning.  The veggies should look relaxed, like this…

Now, you can serve this hot, room temperature OR cold, depending upon your mood.  Add a tiny bit, or a lot, or NO sauce depending upon how you would like to put your dishes or sides together.  For this article, I simply spooned the veggies onto a small saucer and added a bit of sauce.

Then I added a crispy flatbread cracker and ate some.

Then my daughter ate some.  Then she spooned 3/4ths of the dish into a “to-go” container, packed a little souffle cup of sauce with a lid, then took it to work to share with her friends. Here’s Rylee eating the veggies…

Well, that’s it! We may begin a series called “Oklahoma Cooking” to complement the “My Little Victory Garden” posts.  I think next I’ll make a cool persimmon cheesecake recipe I saw (I’m thinking of a special twist), and perhaps an apple-saffron tart.  After all, it’s almost Thanksgiving, and Oklahoma has plenty to give when it comes to fruits, veggies and proteins for your table.

Happy dining!