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
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 :-)
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.
Bring the 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.
Other recipes using fresh summer tomatoes from around the internet:
- Simple Summer Salad from Deep South Dish
- Simply Recipes’ Tomato, Onion and Avocada Salad
- Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta from 6 Bittersweets
- Ezra Poundcake’s Fresh Tomato Tart with Basil Garlic Crust