Fire and Ice Tomatoes

Summer is winding down here in north Georgia. The past few mornings have been noticeably cooler and much less humid but the afternoons still offer us temperatures into the low 90’s. It’s the typical prelude to Fall weather here.

Even though we know Fall is just around the corner, there’s still time for some good summer cooking. If your garden is still going strong you probably have more tomatoes than you know what to do with about now. They’re still widely available in the farmers’ markets, too. So today I have a great quick and easy way for you to use some of that delicious fresh tomato bounty.

This recipe comes from my mother, India, better known to her granchildren as NeeNa. In the South we have a long tradition of giving grandparents more affectionate nicknames than simply grandmother and grandfather.  I’ve known of grandmothers whose grandchildren call them “Sweet,” “MamaDeah” (Mama Dear), “Munnie,” and “Ma Mag.” I call my grandmother “Polly” and we’re known to our own two precious grandchildren as Nana and BeeBop. My father’s name was LaVon and all the grandchildren called him Bon-Bon or Daddy Bon. All these names, of course, have a story to go with them.  NeeNa came about when my daughter was beginning to talk and trying to say “India.” It just came out as “NeeNa” and she’s been NeeNa ever since.

These Fire and Ice Tomatoes are a great salad or side dish for almost any summer meal. They’re wonderful with fried chicken or pork chops and also go well with ribs or even a steak. They’re also a fabulous take-along for a picnic. The sweet-tart dressing that is poured over them has almost the same flavor as the brine used for bread and butter pickles. You can make these a day or two ahead and keep them in the refrigerator, too.

1-2 large Vidalia onions, sliced and separated into rings
4-6 tomatoes, quartered
1 large green pepper, cut into strips
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
2 tblsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Fire and Ice Tomatoes - veggies

Be sure to use Vidalia onions for this dish. Their sweet, mild flavor just can’t be beat! I’m not going to even try to get into the Vidalia vs. Walla Walla debate here. I’m just going to say flat out that Vidalias are the best :-)

Fire & Ice Tomatoes - veggies prepped

Place the onions, tomatoes and pepper in a shallow dish. Don’t you love the colors in there? Yellow or orange peppers would also be pretty.

Marinade for Fire and Ice Tomatoes

Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil and cook for one minute.

Fire and Ice Tomatoes

While hot, pour over vegetables. Cover dish and refrigerate for several hours. Keeps in refrigerator for several days.

Enjoy!

Fire and Ice Tomatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A sweet-tart salad with fresh summer tomatoes, bell peppers and sweet Vidalia onions .
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1-2 large Vidalia onions, sliced and separated into rings
  • 4-6 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into strips
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tblsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place onions, tomatoes and pepper in a shallow dish. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil and cook for one minute. While hot, pour over vegetables. Cover dish and refrigerate for several hours. Keeps in refrigerator for several days.
Notes
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Comments

  1. says

    I had never heard of this recipe before until seeing it recently on a few websites and it really intrigues me. I love everything in it, and the name alone makes me happy. This is something I need to try.

    Here in New York we have only just begun to get our fair share of tomatoes since our season starts later than you lucky folks down south. So this is going to be a must try for us. My plants are hanging with ripe tomatoes and a ton of green ones getting ready to go red. Can’t wait to try this.

    PS: I love your mom’s name. So pretty.

    • says

      Pam, I just know you’d like this recipe. It has just the right balance of sweet and tart. Our tomato season is just about done. Actually, for most varieties of tomatoes it was over at least a month ago.

      And, thanks, I love my mom’s name, too. Starting with my grandmother we have four generations of Indias in our family :-)

  2. says

    now this brings back a recipe from my hometown – I make a similar version now and yes, Vidalia onions for me too…. except when not available… :-(

  3. says

    Another one with my name on it Lana. You know I like em easy and delicious.
    It’s funny but I was brought up using Grandma & Grandpa & so were my kids. Interesting how you personalized it. I like that.

    • says

      I do love sharing little glimpses of Southern culture with people who come here to visit. And, yes, those tomatoes were fresh and delicious!

  4. says

    Looks great! That’s fancier than my family’s version (no spices in ours), and I’m going to try this this weekend. By the way, my mom is Honey to my boys. Gotta love Georgia. :)

  5. says

    So good! I wish I had more tomatoes than I knew what to do with… I think I need to call my parents and have them deliver some to me this weekend!

  6. says

    I love everything in this salad, including the intriguing additions of celery and mustard seeds. Considering what a bread and butter pickle fanatic I am — I eat them literally every day with lunch — I will definitely work this into my dinnertime salad rotation. I’m currently tapped out on garden tomatoes but am planting my fall vines this week!

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