The time has finally come for most of us in the northern U.S. to harvest the last of what we can from our summer garden. Personally I pushed it as far as I could (to the extreme detriment of our nasturtiums, Genovese basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, and tulsi basil), but it's finally time to admit that it is about to start freezing every night, and only our heartiest of garden veg can withstand that punishment without becoming translucent and flaccid echos of their summer glory. We were able to harvest a good amount of stuff though; we got a lot of parsley, lemongrass, tarragon, catnip (a lot of catnip), husk cherries and marigolds. But by weight, I think our most abundant harvest was green tomatoes.
Green tomatoes can seem like something of a white elephant from that autumn garden. I suppose they’re better than no tomatoes, but their use does seem somewhat limited. I feel like most people don’t have too many ideas about what to do with green tomatoes other than fry them, and how many fried green tomatoes can a person really eat (a lot, because they’re incredible)?
I knew I had too many green tomatoes to just try to fry them all, so I decided to go in a different direction and turn a handful of them into green tomato chutney. Green tomatoes make great fodder for chutney (or salsa if that's more your style, though to be honest they share many characteristics), They have a lot of structure which makes for good texture once cooked and roughly pureed, and they have a lot of acid which helps give the sauce character. The green tomatoes will make up the bulk of the chutney, but we will still need a few more ingredients to fill out the flavor profile. Follow along the recipe below to create a super flavorful all-purpose savory sauce, and to start clearing out some of those green tomatoes your autumn garden has “blessed” you with.
Green Tomato Chutney
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: About 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 5 minutes
1/3 cup peanuts
Cooking oil as needed (about 4 Tablespoons)
6 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1/4 cup hot peppers (I used 2 sugar rush peach chilies, but you can use whatever chilies you prefer)
2 Tablespoons mint leaves
2 Tablespoons winter savory (optional)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed powder
2 teaspoon curry powder
4-5 medium green tomatoes, large dice
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt to taste
1. Toast the peanuts in a dry pan until lightly browned and set aside.
2. Heat about 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil in the same pan then add garlic, ginger, and hot peppers. Cook until just softened.
3. Add the cilantro, mint, and savory (if using), and cook until just wilted.
4. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat about 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil in the pan, then add the cumin seed. Cook for about 30 seconds then add the mustard and curry powders. Cook until fragrant (15-30 seconds).
5. Add the green tomatoes and brown sugar and cook over medium heat until softened (about 5 minutes).
6. Now that we’re done with the cooking phase, we can start the pureeing phase. Finely chop the toasted peanuts in a food processor.
7. Once the peanuts are nice and fine, but not paste-like, add the aromatics and process until finely chopped.
8. Next add the cooked green tomatoes, and process until the sauce has reached your desired consistency. I like my chutney with a little bit of texture still, but feel free to make as smooth or as chunky as you like.
Season to taste will salt, and that's it! You’ve successfully moved through some of your end of season unripe bounty. And if you want to be able to play around with the flavors in this sauce, and still get an excellent balanced result, why not check out our upcoming Flavor Dynamics class, where you’ll learn all about how flavor works and how to match them harmoniously. It's being offered at Lincoln Square tomorrow morning!