9 Jul
Posted in: Books, Food
By    Comments Off on Brown is the New Red

Brown is the New Red

One of the July menus in the Year of Recipes from the Garrison Institute Kitchen calls for brown cherry tomatoes, which at first I thought was a typo and what they really meant was: browned cherry tomatoes. But I was wrong. It seems there’s a “new” heirloom variety of tomatoes, which they grow at the Garrison Institute gardens.

So of course I thought I would never encounter them. But I was wrong again. Whole Foods had a whole table of them! (These were grown in a greenhouse  and shipped from Canada, so they probably don’t taste like the ones picked from the gardens at the Garrison Institute, but I figured I’d give them a try anyway.) I tasted one right out of the package with a little sea salt and it was pretty good. Quite tart. Meaty. With a firm skin.

Here’s the recipe, which I plan to make tonight:

Pasta with Brown Cherry Tomatoes, Eggplant, Salt-Cured Capers, Mozzarella, Mint, Basil, and Garlic

1/2 lb. high-quality penne pasta, cooked according to package
1 cup brown cherry tomatoes (or your favorite variety)
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes (room temperature)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
1/4 coarsely chopped basil
1 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt-cured capers, soaked for a few minutes in water  (I’m going to have to use water-packed capers. Outside of Italy, or a real Italian grocery store…like on the Hill in St. Louis…I’ve never been able to find capers packed in salt.)
Salt & black pepper
1 1/2 cups eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes, skin on or off

1.Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, or quarter them, depending on the size, and place in a serving bowl.

2. Add the fresh mozzarella to the tomatoes in the bowl along with 1/4 cup olive oil, mint, basil, garlic, drained capers, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the mixture stand to allow the flavors to blend while roasting the eggplant.

3. In another mixing bowl, toss the eggplant with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and pinch of salt. Roast on a baking sheet until golden brown and completely tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. (Underdone eggplant is spongy and bland, yet bitter, while well-cooked eggplant is silky in texture with a more developed, sweeter taste.) Keep in a warm spot on the stovetop.

4. Add the just-cooked, al dente pasta and hot eggplant to the bowl with the tomato mixture. Toss together. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Serve warm.

The original recipe serves 4 to 6. I’m by myself, so I’ve halved the ingredients. I figure this should make enough for 2 dinners.

Comments are closed.