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Quick ’n Easy
Creole Tomatoes and Chef John Folse

John Folse
Now that Creole tomatoes are in season, you should be cooking with them! Louisiana Cookin’ asked Chef John Folse for his two favorite quick and easy Creole tomato recipes (below) and what he thought of this Louisiana ingredient: “Are there any tomatoes besides Creoles? Not in my kitchen,” he says. “I’ve had the misfortune of biting into tasteless imitations and have been sorely disappointed. I long for the day when Creole tomatoes from Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes enjoy protected designation of origin status similar to Parmesan Reggiano from Italy and Champagne from France. In my opinion, Creole tomatoes deserve such distinction.”




Makes 4 servings

“I first discovered this old-world delicacy while having lunch with Father John Lacari, a wonderful Italian priest, who brought this dish here from Italy. Although simple to produce, the flavors are indescribable. Try it not only as an hors d'oeuvre, but also as the perfect garnish to any Italian or Southwest dish.”

3 cups diced Creole tomatoes
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp chopped thyme
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste
granulated garlic, to taste
25 basil leaves
25 French bread croutons

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for basil leaves and croutons. Blend well, cover, and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve, place 1 basil leaf on top of each French bread crouton and top with 1 heaping tablespoon of Pansanella.

Creole Tomato Sauce
Makes 6 to 8 Servings
Tomato sauce

“Most people don't realize that tomatoes are a product of the Americas. The word ‘tomato’ actually comes from the Aztec word ‘tomatl.’ The Creole tomato is a product of St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes and is known for its sweet, sugary juice. This tomato was originally used in New Orleans to create the now-famous Creole sauce.”

12 Creole tomatoes or 24 Roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
10 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
12 large basil leaves, chopped
salt and black pepper, to taste
granulated garlic, to taste

In a stainless steel saucepot, heat oils over medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in sliced garlic and sauté approximately 3 minutes or until slices are pale yellow or very light brown around edges. Blend tomatoes into garlic mixture. Bring to a low simmer and slowly add stock to retain moisture. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, then add basil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Stir in additional stock as necessary to retain sauce-like consistency.

Chef’s note: Serve as a pasta topping or a base for fish. When serving over pasta, cook and drain pasta, then toss with a small amount of olive oil. Blend 1 to 2 serving spoons of fresh sauce into pasta, along with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Once pasta is coated, place in center of a serving platter and top with more simmering sauce.




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