Meatless Monday – Fried Tomatoes and Aspargus with Almond Sherry Vinaigrette


Hot house tomatoes were out in full force at the Boulder Farmer’s market. They were so tempting in their unblemished perfection. Red and yellow orbs beckoned me. I am normally not a hot house tomato lover but it was 88 degrees and I was wooed by the summer-like atmosphere.

In fact the tomatoes were perfect for sandwiches but even more stellar as fried tomatoes for dinner. Served alongside steamed asparagus with my favorite Spanish-inspired sauce. The tomatoes would also be great layered with fried mozzarella.

Fried Hot House Tomatoes

2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (optional)
salt and pepper
1 lb fresh hot house tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices and patted dry
finely grated Parmesan (optional garnish)

Crack the eggs in one shallow bowl and beat lightly. Place the bread crumbs into seperate bowls.  Season the panko with garlic, thyme (if using), salt and pepper. With one hand place the slices of tomato in the egg and turn twice to coat.

Turn on a pan and start to heat the oil.  Then place the tomato into the fine bread crumbs and turn to coat. Place the tomato back into the egg and turn to coat again and then put them into the panko style bread crumbs.

When the oil is hot but not smoking, place the coated tomato into the pan and fry for about 2 minutes on each side. Drain quickly on paper towel and then place on your plates.

Sherry Almond Vinaigrette for Asparagus

This dish is also great for a brunch or pot luck. You can scatter the chopped eggs and roughly chopped almonds onto the steamed asparagus and then wrap up. Pour the dressing on just before serving.

If you do not have sherry vinegar you can substitute cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.  Balsamic is not a good choice because it is too overpowering for this dressing.

1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped finely
2 Tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
3 Tbsp. orange or lemon zest
1 Tbsp.. chopped anchovies (optional)
   (I do love what they add even if they aren’t “vegetarian”. I use the brined anchovies as opposed to the salted ones. The flavor is much better.)
1/2 cup pulled parsley leaves
   (I like Italian flat leaf for this but you could use chopped curly as well.)
1 cup olive oil, I use a fruity Spanish olive oil
   (It was on sale at Whole Foods for $8.00 a 32oz which is a pretty good deal)
2 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
1 cup almonds toasted, Marcona’s work well too
1 lb. steamed asparagus
salt and pepper to taste

Place the sherry vinegar, orange juice into a bowl and add all the ingredients except for the eggs, almonds and olive oil. Whisk together. Whisk in the olive oil.

Scatter the eggs and almonds over steamed asparagus – It can be slightly warm or completely chilled, just make sure that it is not piping hot. I simply remove the steamed asparagus to a cold platter and spread it out. While it cools I make the dressing.

Scatter the almonds and eggs over the asparagus.  Spoon dressing over the dish.  You will use 1/3 to 1/2 of the prepared dressing per pound of asparagus.  You don’t want the spears to be drowning.

Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper on top just before serving.

FYI – Instead of steaming the asparagus, you could grill it.

I know that anchovies are not meatless but they are packed with heart-healthy omegas and a small amount add so much flavor to the dish!

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