A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Tomato & Herb Tarts Dilly-Swiss Tomato Pie Smokey Shadows Lodge Tomato Pie Savory Summer Tomato Pie Betty’s Southern Tomato Pudding Summer Succotash Salad Smoked Tomato Gravy Ham Salad Tomato &

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Tomato & Herb Tarts Dilly-Swiss Tomato Pie Smokey Shadows Lodge Tomato Pie Savory Summer Tomato Pie Betty’s Southern Tomato Pudding Summer Succotash Salad Smoked Tomato Gravy Ham Salad Tomato &

20 Dishes Starring Fresh, Ripe Tomatoes


Tomato & Herb Tarts

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 tarts.

2 packages refrigerated pie crust, or homemade
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 spring onions, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, sliced very thin
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces goat cheese
3 medium tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
6 to 8 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Unfold the pie crust dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll it into an 11 x 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch-wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the dough, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second sheet of dough to make 4 circles in all. Place the dough circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, making sure not to let garlic burn. When onions are just translucent, add ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan in the center of each circle.

Place ¼ of the onion mixture on each circle, leaving a 1- to 2-inch border. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place 1 to 2 slices of tomato (depending on size) in the center of each tart.

Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Place 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on top of tomatoes.

Using both hands, crimp sides of dough, moving in a circular motion to form a “bowl” around the ingredients. You can also use 6-inch tart pans.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Serve hot or warm. If desired, drizzle a few drops of balsamic vinegar over tarts before serving.

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tomato pie


Dilly-Swiss Tomato Pie

Recipe by Wendy Perry

Yield: 6-8 servings.

1 frozen deep-dish piecrust
3-4 large tomatoes, cut into ½-inch slices
1 teaspoon salt
Several turns of freshly ground black pepper
2-3 green onions, roughly chopped
1 cup mayonnaise (Duke’s preferred)
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
½ cup French-fried onion topping

Place the tomato slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let tomatoes drain for about 20 to 30 minutes. Dry any surface moisture with a paper towel.

Preheat the oven to 350º. Prick the bottom and sides of the piecrust with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise and cheese. Fold in the chopped dill.

Layer the tomato slices in the piecrust. Season them with black pepper. Scatter with chopped green onions. Spread the mayonnaise and cheese mixture over the top of the tomatoes and onions.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pie starts to brown. Scatter with fried onion topping, then bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes. Slice and serve warm.

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Smokey Shadows Lodge Tomato Pie

Recipe by Emma Laperruque

Yield: 6 servings.

2 large tomatoes, firm but ripe
1 pie crust
½ cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
½ cup colby cheese
½ cup mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
Garlic powder to taste
Dried basil to taste
Chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Bake pie crust lightly. Slice tomatoes. In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, cheese, and seasoning. Layer tomatoes in baked pie shell.

Top with cheese mixture and bake until cheese is melted and golden brown (approximately 10-15 minutes).

Let sit for five minutes and top with fresh basil.

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Savory Summer Tomato Pie

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

1 piecrust
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
½ medium purple onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 (8-ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
3 plum tomatoes, sliced

Fit piecrust into a 9-inch deep-dish pan. Prick bottom and sides with a fork, and bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Sauté bell pepper, onion, and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in basil. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in sautéed vegetables and cheese. Pour into crust. Top with tomato slices, and bake at 375° for 45-50 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Tip: Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil during baking to prevent them from getting too brown.

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Betty’s Southern Tomato Pudding

Recipe by Betty Drake of Betty’s Catering and Southern Diner in Aulander.

10 to 12 medium-size fresh tomatoes
2 cups sugar
8 slices of crumbled white bread or 5 crumbled biscuits
1 tablespoon vanilla
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ sticks softened butter

Coat a rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Set up a bowl of ice water. Bring a pot of water to a boil. With the tip of a knife, cut an X in the bottom of each tomato and drop in the boiling water for 1 minutes. Scoop each one out and drop into the ice water to cool. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, pull off the skins and discard.

Slice each tomato in half and use your finger to scoop out and discard the seeds. Chop the tomatoes coarsely and return to the bowl with the juices. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, salt and season generously with black pepper. (Many versions also include a small amount of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.)

Tear the bread into pieces or crumble the biscuits, leaving big chunks. Stir into the tomato mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Cut the butter into bits and dot over the top.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350°, until the top is browned.

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Summer Succotash Salad


Summer Succotash Salad

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

3 ears fresh corn, cut off the cob
1 cup butter beans, cooked
2 large fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved
12 fresh okra pods, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped red onion

½ cup rice vinegar
Juice from the tomatoes
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ cup vegetable oil
Freshly cracked black pepper

Place all salad ingredients in a large glass bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together vinegar, tomato juice, sugar, and salt. Continue whisking and slowly add vegetable oil. Add black pepper and stir. Pour dressing over salad mixture. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours, then serve immediately.

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Smoked Tomato Gravy


Smoked Tomato Gravy

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

½ pound thick-sliced bacon
1 small onion, or ½ cup chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable stock
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
6 to 8 hot biscuits, split

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Set bacon aside. Add onions to bacon drippings and cook for 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. Stir in flour, salt, and cayenne; cook over low heat until mixture is golden brown. Gradually add vegetable stock and tomatoes; stir well. Add sugar and paprika.

Bring to a low boil over medium heat. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve over biscuits and garnish with crumbled bacon.

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Ham Salad

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

1 pound cooked ham, trimmed of fat
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
3 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
¾ cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh tomatoes and/or saltines

Cut ham into chunks and place in food processor. Pulse ham chunks 6 to 8 times to desired consistency. In a mixing bowl, combine ham, celery, onions, pickle relish, eggs, and mayonnaise. Fold ingredients together until well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Stuff salad into fresh tomatoes or serve with crackers.

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Tomato and Ricotta Frittata

Recipe by Mary Cowx

½ medium onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup packed arugula, roughly chopped
8 eggs
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup grated parmesan
⅓ cup ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add onion, season with salt and pepper, stir to combine, and reduce heat to medium. Cook the onion until soft (approximately 5 minutes), then add the garlic and cook one minute more. Gently fold in the cherry tomato halves and arugula, season once more with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine eggs, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and use a spatula to evenly arrange the ingredients. Cook for a few minutes, until the sides begin to set, then remove from heat. Using a spoon, dollop the ricotta cheese on top of the eggs.

Bake until the eggs are nearly set (approximately 7 minutes), then switch the oven to broil, and broil until the top of the frittata is set (approximately 1-2 minutes).

Remove from oven and allow frittata to cool. Slice and serve.

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Tomato Shortcakes with Vidalia Onion Jam

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

Yield: 6 servings.

2 cups chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Vidalia onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 (5.2-ounce) package
Garlic & Fine Herbs Boursin

In a small bowl, toss tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-low, heat the butter and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Add onions, season with some salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add in garlic and sugar and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in vinegars, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature.

To assemble shortcakes: Split each biscuit in half and spread some Boursin on both sides. Spoon some tomato mixture over each and top with a heap of onion jam.

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Tomato and Peach Salsa with Feta and Red Onion

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

Yields 4-6 servings.

¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
1 pound peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced ½-inch thick
1½ pounds tomatoes, such as homegrown heirlooms, of different sizes and colors, large ones diced and small ones halved
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons small basil leaves or torn basil leaves

In a large bowl, combine onion, peaches, and tomatoes. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over fruit mixture, then add feta and basil and gently toss. Serve immediately.

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B.L.T Pasta Salad


B.L.T. Pasta Salad

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

Yields: 20 servings.

1 pound penne pasta
1 pound thick-sliced bacon, diced
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
4 cups grape tomatoes, halved

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, according to package instructions. Transfer pasta to a bowl of ice water; drain well. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain.

Reserve 3 tablespoons bacon drippings; set aside to cool.

Whisk together mayonnaise, reserved drippings, shallots, basil, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Stir in pasta, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon; toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

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uncle tweets slaw


Uncle Tweet’s Slaw

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 3 quarts.

3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 head green cabbage, washed and shredded
2 green bell peppers, sliced lengthwise
2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges

In a glass mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt until sugar dissolves. Whisk in celery seed.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together cabbage, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Firmly pack quart-size Mason jars with slaw mixture. Pour vinegar mixture into each jar and fill to the top. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

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Baked Cherry Tomatoes

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

Yield: 8 servings.

2 tablespoons olive oil
24 ounces cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400º. Pour oil into a 9-inch x 13-inch broiler-proof baking dish. Add tomatoes, and turn to coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with parsley and cheese. Bake tomatoes until just plump and shiny, but not split, about 10 minutes. Preheat broiler. Broil tomatoes until they begin to split and cheese begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Serve warm.

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Stuffed Baked Tomatoes


Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

6 medium fresh tomatoes, washed and cored
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450°. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out ⅓ of the tomato pulp and place in a mixing bowl. Place tomatoes in a shallow baking dish and set aside.

Add blue cheese, walnuts, bread crumbs, and olive oil to the tomato pulp. Mix all ingredients with a fork until just combined. Stuff each tomato with the cheese mixture, mounding the top with it. Sprinkle each stuffed tomato with salt and pepper.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the rims of the tomatoes start to pop.

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Tomato Basil Soup recipe


Tomato Basil Soup

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 cups.

1 cup sweet onions, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
1 (35-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ cup basil pesto
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
Croutons (optional)

In a stockpot, add olive oil and stir in onions. On medium heat, cook onions for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, tomatoes, and tomato paste, and bring to a boil. Add garlic, salt, and brown sugar. Cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes. In small batches, add soup to a blender and blend to smooth consistency. Return soup to the pot and add basil pesto. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and croutons.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

4 large green tomatoes, sliced ¼ to ⅓-inch thick
1½ cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
3 cups vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Place tomato slices in a shallow dish. Pour buttermilk over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine flour and cornmeal in shallow dish or pie plate. Dredge tomato slices in flour/cornmeal mixture. Fry tomatoes, in batches, in hot oil in a large (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Salt to taste.

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Herbed Tomatoes

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

6 ripe tomatoes
⅔ cup oil
¼ cup vinegar
¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup green onion, sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon marjoram or thyme
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Peel tomatoes; place in deep bowl. Cut tomatoes into chunks or slices. Combine oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Stir or shake well, and pour over tomatoes. Cover, and chill several hours. Open occasionally, and stir.

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Cube Steak with Tomato-Onion Chutney


Cube Steak with Tomato-Onion Chutney

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

For the tomato-onion chutney:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet onions, coarsely chopped
6 large fresh tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper

For the fried cube steak:
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 portions cube steak, or 3 pounds
2 tablespoons butter

For the tomato-onion chutney: Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven. Add onions and cook until they start to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, and garlic. Cook on medium-low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Add molasses, vinegar, salt, and cayenne pepper. Simmer all ingredients for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture will thicken as it cooks down. Chutney may be made a day in advance and refrigerated.

For the fried cube steak: Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.

Mix together flour, salt, and pepper.

Season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece in flour mixture, pressing firmly to coat well.

Add butter to pan. When butter has melted, fry steak in butter/oil mixture. Flip when sides are deep golden brown, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Cook the other side for approximately 1 minute.

Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Spoon tomato-onion chutney over steak. Serve immediately.

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Grilled Chicken Breasts With Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

For the chicken:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest, from 2 lemons

For the relish:
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (preferably packed in oil), roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken: Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of wax paper and, using a meat mallet, pound chicken to an even ½-inch thickness.

In a 1-gallon ziplock bag, mix olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Add chicken breasts and massage marinade into meat until evenly coated. Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator. Let the chicken marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat grill to high. Lightly dip a clean kitchen towel in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over clean grill grates several times until well coated. Place marinated chicken breasts on the grill.

Close lid on grill and cook chicken for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken from grill and place on a platter. Cover with foil and allow chicken to rest 5 minutes before serving.

For the relish: Add ¼ cup olive oil to sauté pan and heat on medium, just until pan is hot. Add chopped onions and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Add garlic and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place onion and garlic mixture in a mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Toss until all ingredients are combined. Serve over grilled chicken breast with a loaf of crusty bread on the side.

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This story was published on Jul 06, 2021

Our State Staff

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