Summer dishes include the produce of the season, tomatoes and seafood being part of them. We are fortunate to be near the coast and can purchase fresh fish and seafood, with many choices. Below is a recipe that combines some of those seafood choices.
Tomatoes are plentiful during the summer months up through October. This fruit/vegetable offers many health benefits, especially when cooked into ketchup and/or tomato sauce and tomato paste. It is said that the smaller and darker the tomato, the more cancer fighting lycopene it has. So cherry and grape tomatoes are a very healthy choice when making your recipes. Ounce per ounce, some of the smaller tomatoes have as much as 18 times more lycopene than a large ripe beefsteak tomato. Tomatoes any size offer many health benefits, so enjoy them whatever the variety.
Steamed Seafood Dinner
Serves 8. Recipe may be cut in half.
1 bottle dry white wine
1 whole head garlic with skin, cut in half crosswise
1 pound fresh mussels, closed in shells, cleaned, beards removed
1 pound fresh clams, closed in shells, cleaned
8 chicken thighs, skin left on
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 pound Italian sweet sausage links, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 small smoked pork chops
8 medium-sized white potatoes
1 pound fresh shrimp, cleaned, shells left on
Pour half the wine into the bottom of a large pot or steamer pot, add the garlic pieces. Cook over medium heat and simmer. Add in layers chicken thighs , skin side down, sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste; add and layer sausage pieces, then smoked pork chops, and top with potatoes. Pour in second half of wine. Cover with cabbage leaves. Cover pot tightly and simmer for 60 to 70 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add in layers clams, mussels, then shrimp. Cook until clams and mussels open and shrimp has turned pink, about 10 minutes or so. Serve on platter and pour juices into soup cups and serve. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, if desired as a garnish.
Creamy Clam Spread
Makes approximately one cup.
1 8- ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 6 1/2 ounce can minced clams
2 Scallions, chopped finely, light parts only
1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey mustard
In a bowl mix all ingredients together, stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night. Serve with assorted crackers.
Helpful Hint : To make this a dip add 1/2 to one cup sour cream.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 8. Recipe may be cut in half.
2 large eggplants, about 3 pounds
3 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
1 1/2 cups flavored bread crumbs
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1 16-ounce prepared spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Peel eggplants; cut into 1/2 inch round slices. Place eggs in a pie dish and beat, adding 1-tablespoon water, beat. Place bread crumbs in another pie dish. Dip eggplant slices into egg mixture then dredge into flavored crumbs. Place slices in a single layer on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn slices over and bake another 15 minutes.
Layer one third of the baked eggplant slices in a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Top with one third the mozzarella cheese and spaghetti sauce. Repeat layers twice more. Sprinkle top layer with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.
Fresh Red Tomatoes-Mozzarella-Basil Salad
3 ripe red tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup very red cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 half cup fresh basil, chopped
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 slices
Cut mozzarella cheese into 16 slices, set aside. Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and pepper, to taste. On a serving platter alternate tomato slices and cheese slices, drizzle with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 6 hours. When ready to serve sprinkle with chopped basil. Garnish outside ring of salad with halved cherry or grape tomatoes, forming a bright red ring. Drizzle this ring with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste.
Cooked Red Tomato Chutney Sauce
Makes 4 half pint wide-mouthed jars with lids.
5 pounds ripe red tomatoes
1-2 large sweet onions, cut into eighths
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (Optional)
2 Tablespoons red wine (Optional)
Cut a large "x" in the bottom of each tomato. In batches drop tomatoes into a pot of boiling water, blanch 30 to 50 seconds or until skins start to split. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drop immediately into a bowl of iced water, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Working over a large bowl to collect juices, remove tomato skins, and cut out cores, quarter tomatoes and add to bowl.
Prepare jars and lids.
In a blender or food processor chop onion to yield 2 cups. Place chopped onion in a 4-quart stainless steel saucepan.
Chop tomatoes in batches in a blender or food processor until chopped. Add these chopped tomatoes to the onion mixture. Add sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, and salt, and red wine, if desired, stir and bring to a boil over medium heat, lower heat. Cook uncovered for about one hour or until mixture is thicker and reduced to about 4-5 cups.
Fill prepared jars up to one fourth inch from the top. Place lids on tightly and refrigerate up to 4 weeks. Serve with chicken, pork and/or shrimp, also use in soups and sauces for an added taste..
Roasted Plum Tomatoes
4 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, and seeded
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Parchment paper line a large baking sheet. In a bowl toss together chopped onion and 2 -tablespoons olive oil. Spread onions evenly over parchment sheet.
Toss the halved tomatoes with 2-tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side facing up, over the onions. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 3 hours, until leathery but soft. Remove from oven and let it cool. Store in a covered bowl or large jar, adding more olive oil. Chopped anchovies and/or capers may be added if desired. Refrigerate. Use in salads, chopped on toasts or crackers, or as a side dish.
Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.