Through happenstance four large tomatoes landed in my kitchen last week that 1) were mid-winter tomatoes, there was no getting around that and 2) had been put in the refrigerator, which is a crime against tomatoes. Food science writer Harold McGee explains in his book On Food and Cooking that refrigerating tomatoes damages the membranes inside the fruit walls, which causes the tomato to lose flavor and develop that horrible, mealy texture.
But someone has not read Harold McGee, or paid any attention to my frequent declarations on the topic, so there I was with cold, unhappy tomatoes.
Anyway, there I was with my four tomatoes, looking for a side dish to go with the salmon I was making, and because I have some sort of depression era mentality when it comes to food and waste, I would not toss the lackluster tomatoes out. And after I made this simple side dish, I’m glad I didn’t. It’s a very moist rice dish, and also very pretty and cheerful.
Cooking them eliminated the texture issue, and adding a hit of tomato paste amped up what was lacking in flavor. Some depression era ingenuity, right? I am excited to make this next time I get some great tomatoes, and see how good it can get.
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This was great served with Horseradish Ginger Salmon. I would also serve it up with Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lime, Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Marinade, Pan Seared Pork Chops with Madeira and Leek Cream Sauceor Slow Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herb and Arugula Salad, to name a few dishes.
Tomato Scallion Rice
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Saute the onions for 5 minutes until tender is lightly golden. Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute until you can smell it. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes have cooked down.
- Add the water, raise the heat to medium high, and let the mixture come to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover, and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat so that it stays at a gentle simmer and cook for about 16 minutes, stirring once after about 10 minutes, until the rice is cooked, and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir in the scallions. Serve hot.
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