When I was about 8 years old we lived in Liverpool, Nova Scotia in a large house with a barn and gardens. In the summer we picked raspberries from a patch in our yard – we would go out with empty apple juice cans tied with string around our necks. We ate our fill of raspberries. My mother made jars and jars of raspberry jam with the bounty of the wonderful red berries.
At the end of the summer we had vines of green tomatoes. No one expected green tomatoes. After waiting to see if they would ripen to red, my father decided that they must have been a green variety rather than red ones that did not ripen. Undaunted, Dad harvested them and made Green Tomato Chutney. We had no recipe for it so he did what Dads do and improvised. I can’t say that I remember what it was like just that he made it.
Fried Green Tomatoes came to our attention in the wonderful movie of the same name. It is a southern US specialty that came about from the abundance of tomatoes and the need to pick some tomatoes early to prune the vines. In the southern US green tomatoes are available through out the summer, in the northern US and Canada they tend to be late ripening tomatoes left on the vine at the end of the summer and not a culinary treat.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Ouistreham and saw green tomatoes at the Marché. I bought a few to give them a try. Green tomatoes have a firmer texture more like young green peppers and a tarter taste than fresh ripe red tomatoes.
The green tomatoes reminded me of tomatillos, a green fruit covered with a husk used in Mexican cuisine. They are of the tomato family although not the same thing as green unripe tomatoes. I thought I would combine the red and green tomatoes to make a salsa that took advantage of the differences.
Red & Green Tomato Salsa
Makes 500 mL (2 cups)
1 chile, roasted, seeded and peeled, finely chopped*
2 medium ripe red tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 medium green tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
15 mL (1 Tbsp) freshly squeezed limejuice
15 mL (1 Tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix. Let stand 30 minutes for flavours to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.
*Amount of chile to use will vary depending on the type and heat of the chile and how hot you like the salsa.