It is hot. And sticky. And buggy. I’m sufficiently covered with mosquito bites now that we’re mid-summer (thanks for all of the help, bug spray!) and finally, the garden is off and running. Chartreuse banana peppers and emerald jalapeno peppers dangle from their perches, little cornichon cucumbers dance along their trellis, tiny jewels of baby eggplant have emerged from lilac blooms, slender green beans twirl along the poles, and green globes sparkle in the sun along the many tomato plants. I love summer. And I’m impatient.
It is always this time of year when summer is most certainly in full swing, yet we are still waiting for the fruits of our spring labor to come to dinner, and I begin to get antsy. I’m ready for Caprese salad! Grilled Eggplant Parmesan! Cucumber martinis (mmm hmmm, refreshing)! Panzanella salad! Yikes, better stop, I’m getting awfully hungry. Guess I shouldn’t have skipped lunch today… Lucky for me, there’s a cure. Cherry tomatoes, here to save the day!
Just when I think I can’t make it any longer and I’m going to have to pluck a few of those green ‘maters from their vines (for some FGTs) because I simply cannot wait for fresh garden goodness, I remember the cherry tomatoes. Careful not to talk with your mouth full when munching on these babies, or you are likely to squirt those within shooting distance! Cherry tomatoes are plump, juicy, sweet, and best of all, they taste like tomatoes. Gone are the days of mealy grocery store tomatoes, banished for the next several months until insane cravings strike once again for a taste of summer when the evil four-letter “s” word (no, silly, snow) dominates daily life. No, friend, it is time for real tomatoes once again! Real tomatoes mean real flavor, and the additional fixin’s for this topping pack a real punch. Briny kalamata olives, fresh basil, creamy gorgonzola cheese, and shallots ensure that this salsa-of-sorts makes your mouth take notice. But what to serve it with?
Being the good wife that I am, one day I went in search of a recipe for one of the hub’s favorite recipes – chicken fried steak. I guess I’m technically still looking for that recipe, because I found something similar to this and, um, got distracted. It is still chicken fried steak, but rather than a creamy gravy as an accompaniment, I fell for this bright, briny, salty, yummy topping instead. I think you will too.
recipe: jb’s pour house
12 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
2 1/2 Tbsp. finely minced shallot
2 Tbsp. finely minced fresh basil
1/3 c. pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 oz. gorgonzola cheese
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tenderized cube steaks, 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick
1 1/2 c. flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. panko
Combine tomatoes, shallot, basil, kalamata olives, gorgonzola, olive oil and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
Season steaks lightly with salt and pepper. One steak at a time, dredge in flour, dip into egg, and coat thoroughly with panko. Set aside and repeat with remaining steaks. Pour enough canola oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium high heat and when oil begins to shimmer, fry two steaks at a time, about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining steaks.
Serve warm with plenty of the cherry tomato topping.
Hooray for tomatoes!
All content and photographs © 2010 jb’s pour house