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Deborah Madison's Farm-Fresh Recipes

Chef Deborah Madison shares a selection of recipes from her cookbooks.

Galisteo, New Mexico-based chef Deborah Madison knows her way around a farmers market. With her popular Greens Restaurant in San Francisco and numerous cookbooks under her belt, she creates recipes that keep her food fresh and local. Using ingredients straight from the farm, Madison shares some of her recipes with C&I.

See our interview with Madison in the October 2010 issue of C&I.


A Big Tomato Sandwich

(serves 4 – 6)

Taking the feast-or-famine approach, we live on tomato sandwiches from the moment tomatoes appear in the market to the first killing frost. Then none until next year. Crusty, strong-textured ciabatta is the ideal bread. The holes drink in the juice, but the bread is strong enough that it won’t fall apart. These big stuffed breads look great, taste great, and are invariably messy to eat. Tomatoes of choice are Brandywines, Striped Germans, Carmello, and Costoluto Genovese.

1 large (1-pound) loaf ciabatta
Herb vinaigrette, below
2 or more big ripe, juicy tomatoes
1 large yellow or red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and quartered
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, goat, or other favorite cheese, sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Slice the top third off the loaf of bread and set it aside. Pull out the inside. (You can use it to make bread crumbs.)

Paint the inside of the bread with some of the dressing, then make layers of sliced tomatoes, pepper, and cheese. Bathe each layer with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Add the top, press down, then cut into quarters or sixths. This packs well if wrapped tightly.


The Herb Vinaigrette

¼ cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons aged red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Finely chop the herbs with the garlic, then add the olive oil. Add the vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt and season with pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Reprinted with permission from Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets (Broadway, 2002).


Breakfast Burrito for Day or Night

(serves 1)

To make a more substantial burrito, add any of the following: sautéed spinach or other greens, diced then fried or steamed potatoes, or roasted potato wedges with red chile, or pinto beans doctored with additional chile and cilantro.

1 large tortilla, preferably whole wheat
2 or 3 fresh eggs
1 tablespoon butter
Grated jack or cheddar cheese or crumbled goat cheese

Put a skillet large enough to hold a tortilla over medium heat to warm the pan. Add the tortilla when you start to cook the eggs. Keep an eye on the tortilla as the eggs cook and turn it once so that it heats on both sides.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with a few pinches salt and a tablespoon of water. Melt the butter in a second, smaller pan. Once the butter has ceased to foam, turn the heat to medium low and pour in the eggs. Cook stirring slowly but constantly until the eggs are almost as done as you like, then throw the cheese over the top and remove them from heat.

Slide the tortilla onto a plate, mound the eggs on half the tortilla, add salsa, if using. Fold in half, then cut into three wedges. Eat with warm beans, if desired.

Reprinted with permission from What We Eat When We Eat Alone (Gibbs Smith, 2009).


Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes Baked with Herbs and Capers

(serves 4 – 6)

With its silky texture and summery fragrance, this is one of the most pleasurable dishes to make. The short baking melds everything together, transforms the flavors, and yields juices so delicious they invite dunking. This is served cold as a little salad, but it also makes a great filling for a sandwich or frittata.


4 big bell peppers, red, orange, and yellow
1 large beefsteak-type tomato or 1¼ pounds other ripe tomatoes
2 smaller yellow tomatoes
6 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 tablespoon marjoram or 12 large basil leaves
1 plump garlic clove
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
12 Niçoise olives, pitted
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the dish
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Roast the peppers until charred. Drop them into a bowl, cover, and set them aside while you prepare everything else. Then wipe off the blackened skin, pull out the seeds, and core and cut into wide strips. Trim off ragged ends.

Score the ends of the tomatoes, then drop them into boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove the skins, halve them crosswise, and gently squeeze out the seeds. Cut the walls into wide pieces.

Pluck the leaves off the parsley stems. You should have about ½ cup. Chop them finely with the marjoram and garlic, then put in a bowl with the capers, olives, and olive oil. Season with ¾ teaspoon salt and some pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a small gratin dish. Add the tomatoes, peppers, and sauce and gently toss with your hands. Season with pepper.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Local Flavors (Broadway, 2002).


Figs with Marscapone and Pine Nuts

Quarter the figs from top to bottom without cutting clear through, press them at the base to open them, then insert a spoonful of mascarpone and cover with a few pine nuts toasted first in a dry skillet until golden, or fresh-cracked walnuts. This would be very enjoyable with a small glass of walnut liqueur (Nocino).

Reprinted with permission from Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market (Broadway, 2010).


Apple Crisp

The Fruit

8 cups sliced apples (about 2 ½ pounds)
2 tablespoons organic brown sugar or maple sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


The Crisp Topping

1 cup all-purpose white or whole wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup organic light or dark brown sugar or muscavado sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
Softly whipped cream
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish and position the rack in the center of the oven.

Quarter, core, and then peel the apples. Slice them a scant ½ inch thick at the center. Toss with the sugar and cinnamon.

To make the topping, combine the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it in with your fingers to make a fairly coarse meal. Add the oil, work briefly, and add the nuts.

Put the apples in the baking dish and cover them with the topping mixture. Bake until the apples are tender and the top is browned, about 40 minutes.

Flavor the whipped cream with the cinnamon, and serve with the crisp.

Reprinted with permission from Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market (Broadway, 2010).


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