Kerry, I have taken the liberty of including clanlock on the dist list for this posting because I think Mike will be interested in this topic, a favorite Lockhart late summer supper - a "mess 'a fries" also know as Maryland-Fried Tomatoes.
The summertime wait seems forever. The dish requires real grown-in-the-garden tomatoes, which don't come in until August.
We get our tomatoes at a farm just up Buck Road, a 3-minute drive from Squirrel Haven. Elsa stopped by on her way home Friday night and since then this Gramster has been in tomato paradise. Tomato sandwiches on Pepperidge Farm Whole Wheat bread, tomato salad, tomato wedges and tonight the ultimate - Elsa whipped up the summer’s first batch of fried tomatoes.
Elsa has a hard time imagining how I was able to make fried tomatoes for a family of seven. They are time consuming. They have to be sliced, dredged in seasoned floor, cooked in butter over high heat, then kept hot until they are all done and the gravy is made by “deglazing” the pan with butter to draw all the bits left after frying into the basic cream sauce.
A few years back, Elsa accidentally found a short cut. The two of us were craving a mess 'a and there were only two or three tomatoes. She fried the few tomatoes we had and made the usual pan gravy, then added the fried tomatoes and served them over rice. It takes a lot less time than making plates full of the fried tomatoes with the gravy ladled over. Now, we ladle the gravy ~ chockful of great chunks of beautiful Maryland-fried tomatoes ~ over brown rice.
Some of you may not find this a very appetizing meal. You are in good company. Certainly, it is one meal we do NOT eat around John. Not only has he never found any joy in one of our favorite summer dishes, he makes unsavory comments about its appearance, getting more and more graphic as the meal goes on.
Whenever I think of fried tomatoes, I think of summertime and the Lockhart family gathered around a tiny dining table in the Come Again Cabin (behind Mira & Lewis Grubb's house), happy and having a grand old time.
What a wonderful supper - my compliments to the chef - and what a lovely memory on which to sail off to sleep on.
Love to you all - Mum