Tag Archives: tomato

Caponata – Eggplant recipe

This is a simple recipe that takes great advantage of fresh eggplant.  It has complex flavor and will be sure to wow any party or get together!




Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan (medium heat).  Saute the onions, pine nuts, raisins and hot pepper for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions have softened, but have not turned dark gold.  Add the eggplant and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the chili infused oil and cherry balsamic.  Taste the caponata and adjust flavor with salt, pepper, cherry vinegar and chili infused oil.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped in 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons currants
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes are a great way to show off the deep flavor of Lucini olive oils.  The last time I made them I was in North Carolina, so I added a tablespoon of Cheerwine to the milk and found that the tomatoes had an added sweetness that balanced well with the salted crust.  I have seen many recipes recommend avoiding olive oil for frying, but it actually makes the best frying oil.  When heated, olive oil is actually a very stable fat, working well at frying temperatures, in part due to the plentiful anti-oxidizing agents such as phenols and vitamin E.  Its high smoking point (over 400º F) is safely above the ideal temperature for frying food (350º F).


  • 2 C          Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oilold
  • 4              Green Tomatoes (sliced 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 C           Milk
  • 1 TB        Cheerwine (LUC Cherry if you’re not in the Carolinas)
  • 1 C           Flour
  • 1/2 tsp  Salt
  • 1/2 tsp  Ground Pepper
  • 1 C           Corn meal
  • 1 tsp       Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp  Salt
  • 1/2 tsp  Ground Pepper
  • 2              Eggs (beaten lightly)


In a small bowl, mix the milk and cherry vinegar.  In another, combine the flour with 1/2 tsp  salt and pepper.  Mix the corn meal, paprika, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper in a third bowl, and the beat the eggs well in a fourth.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Dip each tomato slice in the milk to coat, then in the flour mixture. Dip the floured tomato slice into the egg, and then into the corn meal and make sure the slice is completely coated. Place the coated tomato slices in the hot oil, and fry until golden brown on each side, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Slow Braised Short Ribs

This easy to prepare, but time consuming, dish was inspired by a wonderful meal at Daniel, where the short ribs are braised for 8 hours!  I keep it down to around 5, and the ribs ain’t Daniel’s, but the final product is melt-in-your-mouth good.  The fig vinegar adds a wonderful dimension to the dish, as the sweetness highlights a similar flavor in the meat.

5 hour Braised Ribs

5 hour Braised Ribs


  • 4             Short Ribs (about 1/2 LB each)
  • 4 TB       Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 tsp Salt (high quality)
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (fresh ground)
  • 1 tsp      Smoked Paprika
  • 2             Carrots (about 1 C, coarsely chopped)
  • 1             Onion (about 1 C, coarsely chopped)
  • 4             Garlic cloves (2-3 TB, finely chopped)
  • 1 C          Lucini Organic Plum Tomatoes (about 1/2 jar, finely chopped)
  • 3 C          Red Wine (preferably full bodied, definitely not sweet)
  • 4 C          Stock (beef or poultry)
  • 2              Bay Leaves
  • 3 TB       Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic Vinegar


Preheat oven to 250°F.

Pat wash the ribs and dry well.  Season the ribs all over with the salt, ground pepper and paprika and then dust with flour.  Add 12 TB oil to a heavy, oven-safe pot and sear the ribs on all sides until well-browned (about 7-10 minutes).   Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 TB olive oil and add the carrots, onion and garlic. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add wine and boil again, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced by half, about 8 minutes.

Add wine, stock, bay leaves, 2 TB vinegar, and remaining salt and pepper to sauce and bring to a simmer.   Skim fat from surface, then add beef along with any juices accumulated on plate and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer to oven and braise until beef is very tender, 4 to 5 hours.  Every 30 minutes, skim and discard fat from the surface.

Pour sauce through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl and then skim fat from sauce.  Boil sauce, if necessary, until thickened and reduced to 2-3 cups.  Drizzle with remaining TB of fig vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve the sauce with the ribs.

  • 4 (8-ounce) pieces bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice, puréed in a blender with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 4 cups brown veal stock or 1/2 cup Demi-Glace Gold concentrate (concentrate requires a dilution ratio of 1:8; 1/2 cup concentrate to 4 cups water)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Banyuls vinegar or red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Peach & Tomato Salad

I stumbled on this wonderful combination accidentally, when I set out to make a tomato salad, but returned home to find I had purchased weakly flavored tomatoes.  Luckily, I had also picked up some peaches at the same stand that sold the tomatoes.  I decided to add the peaches to ‘cover’ the lack of sweetness in the tomatoes and the fuzzy fruit took the dish to a new level.  This is a seasonal recipe – fresh, full flavored peaches are a necessity and great tomatoes really do make for a mush tastier salad.


  • 2          Peaches (pitted and sliced thin)
  • 1/2     small Onion (sweet – Vidalia, etc., quartered then sliced thin)
  • 1          Tomato (sliced to medium thickness, soak in balsamic and salt if the flavor is weak)
  • 1/2 C  Cucumber (seeded and sliced to medium thickness, about 1/4 inch)
  • 1/4 C  Lucini Cucumber & Shallot Vinaigrette (start with 1/4 C, adding more to taste)


Soak the onions in ice water for 10 minutes to mellow their flavor (soak the tomatoes in balsamic and salt, if necessary).

Toss the peaches, onions, tomatoes and cucumbers.  Add dressing, salt and pepper to taste

Gazpacho recipe

With tomato season approaching, I’m posting a quick recipe for Gazpacho.  The recipe works year round and uses wonderful Lucini tomatoes, but it tastes especially great with fresh, in-season tomatoes (use 3 cups).  You can garnish with chopped veggies, reduced vinegar, olive oil or shredded basil.

Finished with chopped green pepper, olive oil and reduced balsaimc.

Finished with chopped green pepper, olive oil and reduced balsaimc.


Combine all the ingredients except olive oil and blend until smooth in food processor or blender.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  Remove from the refrigerator and whisk in olive oils.  Finish with chopped cucumber, tomato or bell pepper and a few drops of the Basil infused Oil and reduced Balsamic, if so desired.

Bloody Mary recipe

Just in time for Fathers’ Day, here is a tasty Bloody Mary recipe.  I love the new Lucini Infused olive oils and have been working on creative ways to get more of them into my belly.  Here, three of the infuseds mix with tomatoes and a bit of horseradish, salt and pepper to create my favorite Bloody.  I think the drink stands up fine without the worcestershire sauce and celery salt, but in my testing most people preferred the drink with those traditional ingredients, so they are included below.

A lot of places, including the King Cole Bar in midtown NYC, claim to be the ‘birthplace’ of the Bloody Mary, but it is more likely that the drink developed over time rather than in a single birth.  What began as a simple vodka and tomato juice added different ingredients until the tasty beverage we know today was achieved.

I was worried that the olive oil would separate in the drink, but the emulsification held and the drinks look great!

This Bloody Mary is best enjoyed outdoors ...

This Bloody Mary is best enjoyed outdoors ...

2 C     Lucini organic tuscan plum tomatoes
1 TB  Lucini chili infused extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp  Lucini basil infused extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp  Lucini lemon infused extra virgin olive oil
2 jiggers ice-cold vodka (two large shots, not the little 1oz)
Dash of worcestershire sauce
Ground black pepper (to taste)
Horseradish (to taste)
Celery Salt  (to taste)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Sea Salt (to taste)

Combine the tomatoes, oils, vodka, worcestershire sauce and black pepper into blender and puree.   Stir in the horseradish and celery salt, to taste.  Mix together well the celery salt, cayenne and sea salt mixture in a small bowl or plate. Dip the glass rims into water and then the salt/spice mixture.  Fill the glasses with good quality ice.   Add the Bloody Mary mixture.   Garnish generously (see below).

Celery stalk
Pickled Green Beans
Pickled Asparagus
Basil (leaves and stalk)
Cerignola Olives (all 3 colors)
Crab Leg
Special Pickles (Homemade, Guss’, McClure’s…)
Bay Leaf
Pickled or fresh carrot
Lemon Wedge

Simple Enchilada Sauce

This recipe makes the sauce for the Enchilada recipe above.  It is a great way to expand your Lucini sauce recipe repertoire beyond Italian cuisine.  I toast whole cumin seeds and then grind them, but pre-ground cumin works in a pinch.  Pre-ground spices tend to lose their potency quickly and often include fillers, so I highly recommend using fresh or whole spices whenever possible.


  • 1 TB         Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Click the link to the left to order online.

    Click this link to order online

  • 1               Red Onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp    Salt
  • 1/2 tsp    ground Pepper
  • 3 TB        Chili Powder
  • 3 cloves  Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp        Cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp        Oregano (fresh, minced or dried, crushed)
  • 2 C           Lucini Spicy Tuscan Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 C      Water

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder, garlic, cumin, and oregano.  Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and water.  Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.