The New Greenmarket Cookbook - Brown Butter Tomatoes Recipe

The New Greenmarket Cookbook is the most recent addition to my library, and it has won a special place on my shelf with its simple, ingredient-driven recipes. To keep my cookbook collection manageable, I’ve become pretty selective about what I add to it. I used to buy every discount cookbook on sale at Barnes and Noble, but now my books tend to fall into one of three categories:

The New Greenmarket Cookbook falls into the last category. It’s a collection of seasonal recipes, inspired by New York’s Greenmarket, from some of the city's most prominent chefs. The book tells the history of the iconic market and inspiring stories of its passoniate farmers. The chapters are organized by season and are filled with inticing recipes such as: Dill Pickled Ramps (Spring), Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Nectarine Compote (Summer), Scallops with Apple Cider Brown Butter (Fall), and Carrot Pancakes with Maple Pears (Winter).

Last Saturday I snagged a large haul of colorful tomatoes from the South of the James Farmers Market. It was the perfect opportunity to try a recipe I'd been eyeing in my new cookbook - Brown Butter Tomatoes.

The dish is as basic as they come - slice tomatoes, pour hot brown butter on top, and finish with flaky sea salt and fresh pepper - simple but spectacular. The success of this dish is all about the freshness of the produce and the unique character of heirloom tomatoes. The brown butter sizzles when it hits the tomatoes, enhancing their already sweet flavor and adding a nutty richness. When served with crusty bread, these tomatoes are the makings of a perfect summer meal.   

Brown Butter Tomatoes

From The New Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz and GrowNYC. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 small tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Flakey sea salt, such as maldon
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Baguette or other country bread, for mopping up the butter

Directions:

Core the tomatoes and slice them 1/3- inch thick. Divide the slices among four plates (preferably warmed), overlapping the slices just a little.

Place the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over medium heat. Let the butter melt completely. It will begin bubbling. Let the butter simmer away, cooking off its water, until it begins to smell nutty and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Swirl the pan every 30 seconds or so. When the butter turns the color of a hazelnut, remove it from the heat. Use a soup spoon to ladle it over the tomatoes. They'll sizzle! You want to dress the tomatoes with the butter, as if you were pouring ganache over a cake - be generous!

Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper, then rush the plates to the table so everyone can taste the tomatoes while the butter is hot. Mop up the butter and tomato juices with good bread. Toast to summer!