One of the very few things you can actually appreciate about the state of New Jersey is the Jersey Fresh produce that is in season this time of year. These sacred few weeks of late July/early August gardens are bountiful, at their peak in production, and fruits and veggies are the ripest and richest. I felt like a kid in a candy store while grocery shopping this week in the produce dept. Everything looked to be so bright, ripe, plump, and flavorful. I loaded up on zucchini, eggplant, corn, peaches, blueberries, and tons of Jersey Tomatoes (10 lbs to be exact.) The tomatoes looked especially delicious- big, bright red, juicy and just begging to be doused in salt and pepper. This week I plan to get busy cooking up lots of tomato dishes, but first, I would like to thank the Garden State- despite the fact that you are corrupt, overpopulated, have a ridiculously high cost of living, and run everything backwards, I must admit that your produce is pretty darn good!
4 large tomatoes
1/2 lb. bacon (i used turkey bacon)
1 romaine heart, shredded
1/4 c. ranch dressing
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Cook bacon, let cool to touch, and crumble into mixing bowl. Combine with shredded lettuce, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese. Core tomatoes by scooping out a small portion of the center, just so the stem part is removed. Looking down at the tomato cut each vertically then horizontally not going completly through to the bottom. Fan out each tomato to kind of make it look like a 4- petal flower. Liberally season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Stuff with bacon/lettuce mixture. Top with crutons.