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Smoked Tomato Salsa

Smoked Tomato Salsa

This recipe was prepared by Chef John Maxwell on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s weekly television program.

Maxwell, a certified executive chef, culinary educator and member of the American Academy of Chefs, shares delicious seasonal recipes in a Real Virginia segment sponsored by Virginia Grown, a program of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


Summer Salad Soup

 4 medium just-ripe globe tomatoes, peeled, halved and seeds removed
1 teaspoon salt in boiling water
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, each about 4” long; the woodier the stems, the better
1 cup diced onion
1 yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded and de-ribbed, and diced
1 tablespoons minced heavy herbs, such as thyme, marjoram or oregano
2 tablespoons minced light herbs, such as tarragon and basil
½ cup flavored vinegar (Seasoned rice wine vinegar works well. If using cider vinegar, add a little fruit juice like apple cider, orange juice or white grape juice, or add a little honey, to create a sweet note.)

To peel and seed tomatoes: Remove the stem scar using the point of a sharp paring knife to cut only the dark part away. Make a shallow X-shaped cut at the blossom end through the skin only. Drop the prepped tomatoes into a half-gallon of lightly salted boiling water for 1 minute. Remove them, and immediately put them into an ice water bath to cool. Remove cooled tomatoes from the ice water; the skins should be loosened enough to remove easily using the flat blade of a knife and scraping or pulling the skin away. Cut each tomato in half across its middle so that you are left with a stem half and a core half. Gently squeeze the halves over a small bowl to remove the seeds. 

Remove the needles from the rosemary sprigs, and soak the stems in water for a half-hour. Mince the rosemary needles.

Place the tomato halves cut-side-down on a cake rack. Heat a wok to medium-high, and add the rosemary stems. When the stems begin to smoke, put the rack of tomatoes over them, cover the wok and turn the heat off. Let the tomatoes smoke until the remaining prep is done. Do not let the tomatoes cook too much.

In a mixing bowl combine the diced onion, diced yellow pepper, herbs and flavored vinegar.

Dice the smoked tomatoes, and add them to the other diced vegetables. Toss gently, and serve over grilled vegetables or with grilled or seared meat or fish. Serves 6-8.