Queen of The Garden

Last month I picked the last of my tomatoes before the first front came and killed the plants. Many of them were still small and green. I brought them in the kitchen in a little garden basket and set them on the counter. There were probably about twenty five small fruits, most about the size of an apricot. A few were red or pink and slowly the others all turned red and smelled like a fresh summer tomato right off the vine.

Russ had some with his breakfast, as he likes to make a veggie mash up with eggs every morning. Tonight I noticed that a few had gone past their prime. Not wanting to let any of my hard work go to waste I decided to use up all the good ones for dinner tonight. We had some salmon that needed to be cooked so I figured we could have some cheese grits with a cooked tomato and pesto compote with the salmon.

While the grits were simmering in their own pot I halved the 15 small ripe tomatoes and put them in a skillet with a little olive oil and a crushed garlic clove. The pan was on a medium heat and I shook the tomatoes around while they gave way of their juices and small seeds slid out into the oil. While the tomatoes still held their shape I added two salt and peppered salmon filets to the pan next to them. The salmon barley needed two minutes and then I flipped them over. I added a frozen knob of pesto made this summer from the huge bounty of basil. It melted into the tomatoes, which by now had collapsed.

The grits had finished simmering. I slathered a shallow bowl with a spoonful of the yellow mush creating a well in the center. Scooping a heaping spoonful of the tomato and pesto jam into the center of the bowl I completed the tableau with two hunks of salmon.

The tomatoes were definitely the star of the meal. Releasing all their summer goodness long into this dark December night. Now we will have to dream of home grown tomatoes for the next six months until the soil can again gift us the queen garden.

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