the making of things: food, wine, art, home
More often than not when I am conjuring ideas for my next recipe the first thing I start with is fire and smoke. So the other day when I was noticing the chill in the air and the lower angle of the sun in the sky I realized the tomatoes left hanging in the garden might not fully ripen. This got me to wondering about how to use green tomatoes in a way other than Fried Green Tomatoes. I had never used them in any other way but knew that they would add a nice acidity to what ever dish I could come up with. As I looked around the kitchen I noticed that I had a few really ripe peaches in need of a purpose. And it hit me, grill the green tomatoes and the peaches and make a sauce. I could already imagine the grilled smoky flavor mixing with the acidity of the green tomatoes and the sweetness of the juicy peaches…
Sauces can be used in a myriad of ways. I like it to be good on its own but I also like to be able to turn it onto dressing for salad if needed or to use it as a marinade base by adding oil, vinegar, and herbs. The beauty of a sauce is how it can be adapted for so many different needs.
I had a few green peppers in the garden as well and these ended up on the grill too. I cooked everything on an oak fire that I kept at a lowish temperature. This is in order to get a slow smoky fire that will cook everything evenly and imbue it with a nice deep smoky flavor. This took about an hour. Patience is a main ingredient in this kind of cooking.
The trick to managing heat differs with each type of grill. But to tell how hot it needs to be the rule is that if you can hold your hand at cooking surface level for about five seconds before it gets really hot then that is a good cooking temperature. For a lower longer cook you need to adjust accordingly. If I can hold my hand there for longer than ten or fifteen seconds then I know I am good.
When finished cooking on the fire pit I brought the grilled green tomatoes and grilled peaches in and snapped this photo to capture their luscious beauty. Afterwards I cut them up to prep them for the next step in the big saucepan. But first I use about five cloves of garlic sautéed in EVOO and butter. Once they were nice and golden I then added the chopped smoky tomatoes and grilled peaches to the pan along with two cups of Alta Maria Sauvignon Blanc.
Let this cook until everything is nice and soft. Add a little hand rubbed oregano and sea salt to taste. And don’t be afraid to spice it up as well (I used a little spicy chipotle chili powder). Once you are satisfied with the texture it is time to let it cool for an hour or so before you put it into the blender.
I normally set aside some of this for immediate use and freeze the rest. I have used this sauce as a marinade base for chicken by adding a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, and herbs. I also used it to make a delicious salad dressing with olive oil, blasamic, and feta cheese. The real beauty of making batches of sauce is that they are so easily adapted for other uses along with being amazing on their own. This could just as easily be a grilled green tomato and grilled peach salsa but it has way more to give than just that.