The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 10.09.02


Get those Love Apples in

Canadians love their tomatoes and they love them a lot. So much so that they are the number one harvest from home gardens everywhere.

This presents a dilemma in a country where crisp and cold winds arrive faster than our tomatoes ripen. So many tomatoes, so little time.

If Jack Frost hasn't visited your neighborhood yet, then you can be sure he will soon. You'll need to get those tomatoes in, ripe or not. A good cardboard box and a copy or two of your local newspaper will help as you reap the last of your harvest.

Wrap each tomato in a little newspaper and place them in the box. Check them every day and use them up as they ripen. If you can't keep up with the pace, you can simply place them in freezer bags for later use. If you like, you can ripen them on the vine as long as your shed or basement is fairly warm and dry. Just hang them by their stalks and keep a close eye on them. The vine method seems to make them taste better.

While I could give you many more methods of ripening and preserving, this column has more important items to discuss. Namely, how to enjoy eating tomatoes in all their glory.

How about roasting, stewing, or baking? I recently sampled some late-harvest tomatoes prepared in a most simple fashion. Here is a method to enjoy them as I did and this will allow you to fancy up your upcoming thanksgiving dinner. You'll need ten medium size ripe tomatoes, a little good olive oil, and fresh garlic. A little shredded cheese finishes the recipe off. Start by halving the tomatoes and placing them on a baking pan cut side up. If the pan has got raised sides, all the better.

Insert a knife into the center of each tomato and place a garlic clove in the little pocket you have created. Push the garlic down and tuck it in.

Drizzle olive oil over each tomato and sprinkle with salt. Grind on some fresh black pepper to taste and place your bounty in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with a grated cheese of your liking. Bake another five to seven minutes. Parmesan works well as does good strong cheddar.

Serve tomatoes along side any main dish or as an entree along with a good crusty bread.

We like fresh tomatoes marinated at our house. This also goes well with crusty bread.

Combine 1/4-cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, one or two cloves of crushed garlic, a chopped green onion and a little basil (dried is fine) and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over tomatoes and marinate for an hour in the fridge. Serve as a salad or as a side.