Straight from 19th-century American cookbooks, these big chunks of ripe beefsteak and green tomatoes get bathed in a warm, garlicky, sweet-sour dressing. They stand on their own, top greens, or make a good potato-tomato salad. Bacon fat was favored 150 years ago; olive oil works well today. Out of season, this recipe still works with supermarket tomatoes on the vine.
Cook to Cook: Dressing can be prepared several hours ahead up to the point of adding the vinegar. The oil should be warm, but not hot, when the vinegar goes in.
2 to 3 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks
3 medium green tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup bacon fat or extra-virgin olive oil
8 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced into long strips
2 packed tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar, boiled down by half
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill leaves
1. Gently combine tomatoes in a large bowl. Heat fat or oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and a little salt and pepper. Sauté about a minute, or until garlic is softened, but not browned. Stir in onion and cook another minute, just to soften slightly. Off the heat, stir in sugar until melted.
2. When ready to serve, warm the onion mixture (it should not be hot). Off the heat, stir in the boiled down vinegar and any liquid from the tomatoes; taste for seasoning. Pour over tomatoes, folding in the dill. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Copyright 2003 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
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