...completely different, but eminently seasonal. After the zucchini season, which is not yet finished, comes the tomato season. It's now. We are coping. Tomato salads, tomato sandwiches, tomato sauce, tomato paste... you name it. And of course tomates farcies — stuffed tomatoes.
I made a ground beef and lardons fumés (smoked bacon) farce for some of the largest tomatoes we've harvested. They are enormous and ripe right now. There are also a lot of smaller tomatoes that we plan to dry in the oven at low temperature and put away for the winter.
The stuffing for the large tomatoes was the pre-cooked ground meats along with onions, fresh basil, and finely diced cornbread. The cornbread was dense and eggy, and I decided to put some of it in instead of using breadcrumbs or rice. I also diced up a couple of smaller tomatoes and added them to the mixture. It turned out tasty.
Walt planted six or eight varieties of tomatoes this year. Some he grew from seeds in the spring, and a few were contributed by our American friends who live down the road from us. That means we now are harvesting tomatoes of every size and color. The tomato season will go on into October unless the weather turns very bad.
To prepare the tomatoes, which should be ripe but still firm, you just cut off the cap (the stem end) and save those to use as "hats" for the stuffed tomato bottoms. I scooped out the tomato pulp and seeds using a melon baller (called a couteau parisien in French, if I'm not mistaken). The pulp, seeds, and liquid went into the sauce pot with other tomatoes that weren't so large or were misshapen.
On Saturday, Walt made the sauce — about 10 liters of it — and ran the cooked tomatoes through a food mill to remove the seeds and tough skins. Then he poured some of the smooth sauce into lasagna pans and set the pans in the oven for a few hours at low temperature, stirring the thickening sauce every half-hour. The result: home-made tomato paste we'll be able to enjoy over the winter too.