I know I am spoiled by the produce in California, but I have to say- I do miss the New York City Greenmarket. The produce that pops up in Union Square (and in farmers’ markets all over the city) is truly spectacular, especially in late summer. Coming out of the subway at 14th Street and seeing all the farmers amidst the cityscape is so unique and exciting. While at the market, it’s common to see big city chefs shopping for their dinner menus and The New Greenmarket Cookbook tells the stories behind these chefs and recipes.
The cookbook is by my friend Gabrielle and it’s beautifully compiled with so many fresh ideas. I shot with a lot of these chefs when I was working as a food photographer in New York, so it’s really fun to have this collection of their recipes. Here’s one super simple summer recipe I tried the other day that was a total winner. I made it while visiting my parents’ little cabin up in Sonoma County, where they have an enormous garden with 50+ tomato plants growing this summer (crazy!). Such a simple idea and SO delicious. Happy cooking!
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BROWN BUTTER TOMATOES
From The New Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz and GrowNYC. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014
Recipe by Amanda Hesser, Food52.com and Provisions
2 large or 3 small ripe beefsteak tomatoes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Coarsely ground black pepper
Baguette or other country bread, for mopping up the butter
Most locavores have more recipes for tomatoes than Eskimos have names for snow. But this preparation, which drizzles beurre noisette over tomatoes in place of the classic olive oil, will stop you in your tracks. As surprising as it is simple, it’s the kind of thing you can slap together in mere minutes for a solo snack or serve to guests on fine china.
Core the tomatoes and slice them 1⁄3-inch thick. Divide the slices among four plates (preferably warmed), overlapping the slices just a little. Place the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over medium heat. Let the butter melt completely. It will begin bubbling. Let the butter simmer away, cooking off its water, until it begins to smell nutty and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Swirl the pan every 30 seconds or so. When the butter turns the color of a hazelnut, remove it from the heat. Use a soup spoon to ladle it over the tomatoes. They’ll sizzle! You want to dress the tomatoes with the butter, as if you were pouring ganache over a cake—be generous!
Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper, then rush the plates to the table so everyone can taste the tomatoes while the butter is hot. Mop up the butter and tomato juices with good bread. Toast to summer!