In the Kitchen with Brian and Lisa: Time for Tomatoes

by | Sep 1, 2016


WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month Brian and Lisa featured recipes made with delicious vine-ripened, N.C.- grown tomatoes. North Carolina farmers produce about 85 million pounds of fresh-market tomatoes annually.

The first recipe is for a  simple dish that can be served as a side dish or as a topping on fish or chicken. “Its summertime so let the delicious fresh flavor of our North Carolina ingredients speak for themselves,” said Lisa.

Tomato and corn relish

  • 3 ears corn, cut off the cob (yields about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 jalapeno, diced fine
  • 1⁄4 cilantro, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup purple onion, diced fine
  • 2 small limes, juiced
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Stir together all the ingredients except the olive oil. Then slowly add the olive oil and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This dish can be served as a side or an appetizer. Lisa suggests serving with a salad and pasta topped with marinara to make it a complete meal.

Crispy Tomatoes with relish

  • 2-3 large tomatoes (cut into 1/4 inch slices)
  • 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 1⁄2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1⁄2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1⁄8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup Marinara sauce
  • Vegetable or peanut oil for frying

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the first three ingredients in a shallow dish. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and water. In another shallow dish, combine Panko and next 4 ingredients.

Season tomato slices with salt and pepper. Then dredge the tomato slices in flour mixture; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture.

Pour oil to a depth of ¾ inch in a large skillet. Fry tomato slices in two batches, in hot oil over medium-high heat 2 to 2 ½ minutes on each side or until browned. Drain on a paper towel or wire rack.

Place tomato slices in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheet; top each with one provolone slice and bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with a basil leaf. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

To hot to cook? “Keep it simple in the summer makes for less work in the kitchen, ” said Lisa, “and you don’t even have to turn on your oven.”

Sweet or Savory Tomato and Cucumber Salad


  • 1 cup tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 large cucumber, seeds removed and diced
  • 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Toss the tomatoes and cucumbers together in a bowl. Then combine the mayonnaise, sugar and red wine vinegar. Pour the dressing mixture over the tomatoes and cucumbers and stir.


  • 1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 large cucumber, seeds removed and diced
  • 1⁄8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄8 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄8 cup basil, torn
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Stir together all the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heirloom tomatoes are readily available at local farmers markets or maybe in the garden of your friendly neighbor. Lisa notes that this combination of ingredients may surprise you and your guests. The fresh tomatoes, sweet watermelon and nutty pecans pair perfectly together.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons basil, torn into pieces
  • 1⁄4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 cup watermelon, diced
  • 1⁄3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oilWhisk together the balsamic vinegar, garlic and brown sugar. Then gradually whisk in the olive oil. Arrange your tomatoes and watermelon on the plate and spoon the dressing over them. Top with mozzarella, pecans and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.