Herbs and tomatoes



If you’ve ever browsed through a seed catalog, you’ve seen a wide variety of tomato types.

In the newest Burpee catalog, there are over 10 pages of tomatoes! There are: early varieties, late varieties, red, orange, yellow, purple and white varieties or a combination of these colors, large and small, there are circles, pears and oblongs, there are heirlooms and hybrids. There are some that are good in salads and others that do better in gravy. Whatever your preferences, there is a tomato to do the trick.

Tomatoes and herbs go hand in hand, whether you eat the tomatoes raw or cooked. Basil is the number one herb for tomatoes, but other herbs complement tomatoes as well: bay leaf, chives, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, and thyme. Use them alone or in combination with tomatoes. Planting basil next to your tomatoes helps both grow better. This is called the companion planting. An added benefit is that you can easily harvest both at the same time.

Most years around this time we have an abundance of tomatoes. This year is no exception. With our tomatoes in the fall, we do a lot of canning. We put whole tomatoes with a bay leaf and basil in the bottom of each jar, then we fill it with whole peeled tomatoes. To peel the tomatoes, put them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then immerse them in ice water. I have a strainer type pot that fits into one of my pots, which makes blanching super easy. I put the tomatoes in the colander (I can put several tomatoes in it at a time) and then I immerse it in boiling water. After 30 seconds, I take out the colander by the handle, let the water run out and pour the contents into the ice water. If you don’t have one of these strainers, you can use tongs to pull out the tomatoes or a small colander.

Make several batches before you start peeling them. Enjoy the boiling water. We put the herbs in the bottom of hot jars, add the peeled tomatoes and a little salt. Put the hot lids on and screw the rings on and pressurize the tomato jars according to the manufacturer’s instructions. We also make our own spaghetti sauce and pressure can do that too. For this, we pass the tomatoes through a Victorio’s juicer. It’s like a continuous feed Foley food mill. It has a hopper at the top and when you turn the handle it forces the tomatoes through a sieve which collects the juice and pulp in a bowl, and forces the seeds and skins out the end. So we have two bowls, one to collect the juice, the other to contain the waste.

All the tomatoes are ready in no time, but cooking begins. We expect 4 liters of juice to make 1 liter of spaghetti sauce depending on the tomatoes used. Roma tomatoes have more pulp and less juice, so you won’t have to cook them for that long. We boil the juice and pulp for several hours until it almost has the consistency of spaghetti sauce, after which we add the chopped onions and cook a little longer. When the sauce has the right consistency (a wooden spoon will hold straight in the sauce and not fall out), pour several cups, pour it into the food processor where we have already put all the herbs that we want to use . We vibrate the food processor until the herbs are little green spots, then put them back in the sauce kettle and cook for another 20-30 minutes. We then squeeze the spaghetti sauce, again following the manufacturer’s instructions. It takes a bit of work, but you can’t beat the flavor. It’s so nice to open a jar and use it on spaghetti, ravioli, stuffed seashells, etc.

CAPRESE SALAD For 4 people

I like to use the variety of small leaf basil called spicy globe. Just remove the leaves from the stem and sprinkle them over the cheese, no chopping is needed. The soft texture of fresh mozzarella makes this salad.

4 cups of shredded lettuce

4 medium tomatoes

2 large balls of fresh mozzarella

1/3 cup basil leaves

Opal basil olive oil vinegar or your favorite Italian dressing

Put a layer of shredded lettuce on each individual 8-inch plate. Slice the tomatoes and spread them over the lettuce using 5 or 6 slices on each plate. Slice mozzarella cheese 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and place over tomatoes. Place basil leaves (whole or cut) over the cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and opal basil vinegar that has been mixed in a small dish in the proportions you like or drizzle with your favorite Italian dressing.


It’s a simple but so delicious recipe.

1 pint of fresh grape tomatoes, can also use cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 – 2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (combo of basil, oregano, rosemary, chives, parsley, tarragon,

savory and / or marjoram)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Place the garlic and tomatoes in the heating pan until the tomatoes begin to open. Combine the fresh herbs and a little kosher salt and black pepper. Serve as an accompaniment or on pasta or on French bread.


I got this recipe from one of my clients at the farmers market. I modified it a little with Neufchâtel, which is less fat than its recipe with cream, and it only has to melt which takes less time than reducing the cream. All in all a good substitute. Chiffonnade: layer the basil leaves on top of each other. Roll them to one side, holding the end of the rod, and slice thinly starting at the tip. When you have sliced ​​to the end, you will have basil fillets to sprinkle on the sauce.

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 cup of white wine (chardonnay is good)

1 – 2 garlic cloves – chopped

4 ounces of Neufchâtel cheese (low fat cream cheese)

6 Roma tomatoes – squeezed and chopped

6 – 9 basil leaves – chiffonade or chopped

Put the oil in the pan and brown the garlic in the oil. Add the tomatoes (skins, seeds and all) and the wine. Cook to reduce humidity until a sauce-like consistency. Add cream cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil and serve immediately over hot pasta.



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 tbsp (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

½ teaspoon of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of cold water


1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup grated Gruyere

2 Italian tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices, or 20 grape tomatoes, halved

6 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ​​into 1/4-inch strips

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Balsamic glaze, enough to baste the pie


For the dough: Combine the flour, butter and a little salt and pepper using a pastry blender or food processor until the mixture resembles coarse flour. Mix 1 tablespoon of oil and water until the bottom of the mixture begins to cling. If necessary, add an additional ½ tablespoon of oil. Pour the batter into an 8-inch pie pan with removable bottom. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

For the pie: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the mustard on the bottom of the pie shell. Sprinkle the Gruyère evenly over the mustard and place the tomato and fresh mozzarella alternately on the Gruyère. Combine olive oil, basil, parsley, thyme and garlic in a small bowl or put olive oil and herbs in food processor and mix until finely chopped . Brush half of the mixture over the pie. Bake in the middle of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove pie and let cool briefly before serving. Serve hot with the remaining herb oil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Donna Frawley is the owner of Frawley’s Fine Herbary and author of “The Herbal Breads Cookbook”, “Our Favorite Recipes”. and “Book of Edible Flowersâ€. She also has her own “Cooking with Herbs” DVD and a weekly newsletter. She can be reached at 989-488-0170, frawleyherbs@yahoo.com or www.frawleysfineherbary.com


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.