Warm green tomato and apricot salad

Salad ingredientsI came home one day not long ago to discover that one of the lower branches of my Stupice tomato plant was drooping more than usual. It had a fat cluster of seven tomatoes growing on the end of it, so I tried to stake the branch.

But it did not take me long to realize the branch was going to have to come off completely—it had split from the main stem of the plant, and was only hanging on by a small piece at the bottom of the connection point. Even the most talented Band-aid approach was not going to make a difference.

I removed the branch carefully, harvested the green tomatoes, and then tried to figure out what to do with them. While the cluster was mighty, the tomatoes themselves were fairly small. Battering them and frying them up was going to be tedious—it would be a lot of tiny, irritating slices. I’m more a fan of the big, thick fried green tomatoes.

Plus, while I love fried green tomatoes, there is the issue of whether it’s particularly healthy to eat as many of them as I would have to eat to dispatch with this inadvertent harvest.

I remembered great success cooking them up in various dishes at the end of the season last year, and realized I had some apricots in my refrigerator that needed to be used up. My chef-y brain kicked into gear, and I thought back to Kalyn’s inspired caprese salad with apricots from last summer. Tomatoes and apricots cookingCould I sauté the green tomatoes with the apricots and make some magic?

I layered a bowl with fresh mozzarella, then topped the cheese with a layer of basil. My plan? To cook up the tomatoes and apricots and let the heat from the just-cooked fruits melt the cheese and wilt the basil. The combination worked just as I’d hoped, and drizzled with a little olive oil and fabulous balsamic, provided me with a tangy-sweet, creamy-salty lunch that fired up my taste buds.

I’ve offered some suggested proportions of ingredients below, adjusted to serve four, but this is one where a free hand with the various ingredients would work well. Use as many green tomatoes and apricots as you have—I promise the proportion will be delicious no matter what!

The salad, finishedWarm green tomato and apricot salad
(Serves 4)

Four large green tomatoes
Four ripe apricots
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
1 c. torn fresh basil leaves
4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (use the good stuff…it makes all the difference)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Slice the fresh mozzarella, divide it into four parts, and place it on the bottom of four wide, shallow bowls or plates.
  2. Divide the basil evenly among the bowls or plates, layering the torn leaves on top of the mozzarella.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and apricots into similar-sized chunks.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green tomatoes and sauté until they’re starting to brown, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the apricots, and sauté the tomato-apricot mixture for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the fruit is soft and starting to caramelize.
  6. Layer the hot tomato-apricot mixture on top of the basil and mozzarella, dividing it evenly among the four plates.
  7. Drizzle each plate with a Tbsp of very high quality balsamic vinegar and a ½ Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

This is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Susan from Food Blogga. Please check out the full round-up of recipes and herby stories later in the weekend!

18 Responses to “Warm green tomato and apricot salad”

  1. 1 Kalyn July 14, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    I love it! I’m impressed with your creative solution. I think that’s what good cooking is all about. And I must give credit, it’s Rand’s salad with the apricots, tomatoes, and fresh mozarella. All I did was eat it!

  2. 2 flossie July 14, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    I had always assumed green tomatoes were a special tomato that was green when ripe…but now that I know I can use the unripe/possibly-may-never-be-ripe tomatoes in my garden, this opens up a world of possibilities…

  3. 3 kate July 14, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    I amost feel like going out and picking some tomatoes just so that I can try this! Maybe I’ll wait for a bit and let them get a bit bigger. Your recipe sounds delicious … you are a creative cook!!

  4. 4 Susan from Food Blogga July 14, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks for the innovative WHB entry, Genie! I use green tomatoes in salsas and salads quite often but haven’t thought to pair them with apricots. I especially like the idea of heating them; it must make the tomatoes more mellow and complement the apricots’ sweetness.

  5. 5 Sassy Gardener July 14, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Um, yum. Yum, yum and more yum: I have never thought of combining apricots and green tomatoes but I now will…

  6. 6 jennylitchfield July 14, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Interesting combination of apricot and tomatoes. Enjoying scrolling through your blog.

  7. 7 inadvertentgardener July 15, 2007 at 12:03 am

    Kalyn, that’s true…it was Rand’s idea. And I’ll be trying it in the more traditional format posted on your blog as soon as I have red tomatoes to work with, because it’s a fabulous combo!

    Flossie, truly green tomatoes can be a beautiful thing, if employed correctly. I really enjoy eating them!

    Kate, I hope you try it, but I definitely understand the urge to leave the tomatoes alone. If I hadn’t had a sacrificial branch, I might never have thought of it!

    Susan, it is a nice balance of flavors, for sure. I need to try making a green tomato salsa — that sounds yummy!

    Sassygardener, I do hope you give it a try — I think you’ll like it!

    Jennylitchfield, so glad to have you dropping by!

  8. 8 Katiez July 15, 2007 at 3:11 am

    I must be in a culinary rut! I never would have thought of sauteeing apricots with green tomatoes!
    My imagination must be on a break…. sigh. Hope my mind is following it….

  9. 9 inadvertentgardener July 15, 2007 at 6:16 am

    Katiez, if I hadn’t had the inspiration from Rand by way of Kalyn, I probably would have never thought of it, either. But that’s the cool thing about cooking…there are so many ways in to a delicious dish!

  10. 10 Christa July 15, 2007 at 7:13 am

    This sounds so interesting and delicious. Nice summery color combo, too. Great idea!

  11. 11 inadvertentgardener July 15, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Christa, the color combo is definitely a good one. It’s very summery!

  12. 12 Aiyana July 15, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    What an interesting combination of colors and flavors. I may just have to try this one.

  13. 13 inadvertentgardener July 16, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Aiyana, I hope you do — it’s very tasty!

  14. 14 jackiesgarden July 17, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Wow. I’m impressed. Wouldn’t have thought of this – yet it sounds great. I’ll definitely try it. Nice blog you have here.

  15. 15 inadvertentgardener July 17, 2007 at 9:10 am

    Thanks, Jackie! I appreciate your stopping by.

  16. 16 Adele Latu August 2, 2007 at 6:03 am

    Thanks for this website. We have a boutique tomato farm on the Australian NSW South Coast, near Jervis Bay.
    We have always strived for an awesome flavoured tomato rather than a pretty one, although the two can go hand in hand. Your motto on your home page is an encouragement to keep going. Small business can be a long, hard slog!!
    Also –
    Green tomatoes are a niche we fill. More customers are accessing our farmgate to buy in order to make their own pickles etc.. I like the recipe for Warm green tomato salad…and hope you are Ok if we share that with some of our interested customers.

    Cheers, Adele

  17. 17 inadvertentgardener August 2, 2007 at 6:14 am

    Adele, I’d be delighted if you share the recipe with your customers! Please make sure to include credit back to me and to the blog, but yes — I hope you’ll share it and that they’ll enjoy it. It’s very interesting that you guys are filling the green tomato niche — I see more and more of them for sale at the farmer’s market, for sure, and can see how they could become a commodity in their own right. Does your business have a web site? I’d love to check it out!

  1. 1 How to become a fried green tomato « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on July 23, 2007 at 9:30 pm

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