Heirloom Tomatoes, Healthy Cooking, Recipes from Greece

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The following market report recipes are from Amelia Saltsman:

Melon, Cucumber and Mint Salad
Makes 6 servings or 6 cups

  • 1 cantaloupe, about 3 lbs, cut in bite-size chunks
  • 4 cucumbers, lemon and Persian, about 1 lb
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, packed, about 8-10 large sprigs
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 ozs Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
Place the melon in a large bowl. If using lemon cucumbers, peel them. Cut into wedges, and cut each wedge in half crosswise. Add to bowl. Peel and seed the Persian cucumber and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices and add to the bowl, along with onions. Tear the mint and add to bowl along with remaining ingredients. Gently toss and taste for seasoning. Chill one hour before serving.

Green Zebra Gazpacho
Makes 8 servings or 2 quarts

  • 2 lbs Green Zebra or Evergreen tomatoes
  • 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, about 10 ounces, peeled, seeded and cut in chunks
  • 1 pint stale French bread, crusts removed and torn
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2-1 small jalapeno pepper, cut in small pieces
  • 8-10 sprigs cilantro, stems removed
  • 8-10 sprigs mint, stems removed
  • 1 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 ripe avocado
Peel and seed tomatoes by dropping whole tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with strainer. Skins will slip off easily. After removing the core, cut tomatoes in half across their equators. Squeeze to remove the seeds. Discard seeds. Coarsely chop tomatoes and place in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients --start with half of the chile -- and stir. Using a blender, puree the soup in batches. Be sure to leave it a little chunky for texture. Chill for at least 2 hours. Taste and correct seasonings. If the soup is not spicy enough, grind remaining half chile with a little water and stir into soup. Garnish with diced avocado and an extra sprinkling of salt if desired.

Meze by Diane Kochillis
(Bread Salad with Barley Rusks, Tomato, Mint, and Green Apple)

  • 2 Cretan barley rusks or 2 slices very stale hard country-style bread
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin rings
  • 2 Tablespoons small capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil to taste
Run each of the rusks under the tap or dip them for a few seconds in a bowl of cold water. Hold them up and let the water drip off completely. Break the rusks into large pieces and place in a serving bowl.

Add the tomato to the bread, tossing with a little salt. Peel and grate the apple along the wide-toothed side of a handheld cheese grater, working carefully down to the core. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apple. Top with the onion, capers and herbs. Pour the olive oil over the salad, season with additional salt, toss well, and serve.

Bread Salad with Watermelon, Feta, and Red Onion

  • 1 Cretan barley rusk or 1 thick slice of stale country-style bread
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 3 cups cold watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) Greek feta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon sherry or raspberry vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • A few mint sprigs
Dampen the bread under running water and then hold it over the sink for the water to drip off. Break it into chunks, about 1 inch each. Place the chunks on the bottom of a serving bowl and sprinkle half the onion slices over them. Place the watermelon and any of its juices together with the feta cubes on top. Drizzle in the vinegar and toss gently, careful not to mash the watermelon. Season with pepper and garnish with the remaining onion slices and mint.

Cretan barley rusks may be found in Greek grocery stores across the United States and in some food specialty shops. You can make your own rusks by slicing country-style bread into 2-inch-thick wedges and baking on an ungreased sheet pan in a low oven for several hours until dry and hard.

Arugula Salad with Pastourma and Wrinkled Black Olives

For the Salad:

  • 1 bunch arugula, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 slices Pastourma (found in Greek and Armenian markets), with the sticky spice rub removed from the rim
  • 10 Moroccan oil-cured olives
For the Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Greek thyme or mountain honey
  • 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wash the arugula and spin dry in a salad spinner. Place in a medium serving bowl. Place the onion on top, then the cherry tomatoes. Julienne the Pastourma, diagonally across the width of each slice, into short 1/4 inch strips. Add to the salad. Top with the black olives.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Dress and mix the salad and serve immediately.

Joseph Manzare is chef of Globe Venice (72 Market St, Venice; 310-392-8720) and Globe in San Francisco.

On Monday nights, at Globe Venice, Joseph prepares a four-course prix-fixe Farmers' Market Dinner ($29), using all local organic ingredients and free-range, hormone-free products.

Tomato Bread Salad
Serves 4

  • 6 medium Heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 day-old loaf of bread
  • 4 Tablespoons Feta cheese
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted mixed olives
Cut tomatoes into wedges and marinate in 1/4 cup of the olive oil for 1 hour. Meanwhile, tear the bread into pieces and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toast in oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with bread, basil, olives, remaining oil, salt and pepper. Divide among 4 bowls and top with crumbled Feta.