Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dodge Trout and Tomatoes


'Look, you can rack ya flamin' tomatoes in the Ford, but you've got Buckleys with the Dodge. It's full a cement. It's chocka, and I, for one, won't be movin'it. ' 

And so began another foray into the cultural and highly suspect world of tomato drying.  'And what's more, it's the only  place where I can keep me cement dry, so you'll have to find some place else. What's wrong with the Mitsubishi, or the bloody Fiat.  Or aren't they foreign enough for you flamin' gormays?' 

Lately, it seems everyone who is anyone is in the process of being overtaken by a mad quest to dry tomatoes. There seems to be no limit to the ingenuity the impassioned tomato drier will employ in pursuit of this current culinary holy grail. Look around you in the better parts of town, and you'll see what I mean. There's hardly a northern window ledge with space enough for an additional piece of fruit, and the pressure for quality drying space has peeled off into rural areas. Old fridges, abandoned chook houses, washed-up  washing machines,..all these have their devotees, but the true aristocrat, the creme de la creme of tomato driers, the upwardly mobile gourmet will always go for the derelict Dodge over the  failed Ford.   

Now I'll admit your Dodge full of cement is a difficult prospect  to overcome in pursuit of the production of perfectly desiccated tom, but there are limits. I mean, there are stories circulating concerning certain soulless individuals, bereft of all horticultural and culinary integrity, using the odd abandoned Ford in yet another pathetic and nefarious attempt to dupe  the hapless consumer. How can we maintain quality in this business if we lower our standards!

 And are they true, these reports? Do they hold water? You bet they do.! I've seen the advertising campaign. Huge signs suspended from Zeplins, billboards positively lining the highways into even minor tomato drying  townships, dubious competitions designed to entice the gullible to abandon the dear old  Dodge and take on the 'fabulous' Ford.  You know the lines. More space in the boot; totally stain-proofed upholstery, spare racks on the roof,  full climate control, blah, blah blah. And that catchy jingle 'If you can't afford a Ford, dodge a Dodge'. .....But, and here's the thing: they leak don't they. Totally useless in the dry tomato trade. I ask you to please consider.. 'have you dried in a Ford lately?!'

Nevertheless, the problem remains. How can you use your copious amounts of superior Dodge dried tomatoes? Well , it's the trout season again, and our local waters are beginning to fish well. I have it on impeccable authority that the best anglers are currently using a small dry nymph fished wet, late in the day, preferably from the roof of the Bentley. If you can ever trust the word of a fisher, there are prodigious numbers of quite extraordinary trout being taken in this manner, and as we have established that there is no shortage of tomatoes in the aware kitchens of the Orange area, allow me to present an innovative approach to dealing with both these happy circumstances.
You too can appreciate just how well   trout goes with garlic enriched  dried tomatoes as a seasoning for  steamed rice, Italian parsley , crushed almonds and finely chopped ham accompanied by a bone dry Riesling or well made young Mugdee Semillon.  Simply skin the whole trout, add lemon juice to the body cavity, and turn the beast in a couple of beaten eggs and a little seasoned flour. Next, pan fry a fist-full of well chopped mushrooms adding the garlic tomatoes, ham and a generous  cup of finely crushed almonds, a splash of your selected wine and the fish. Cook quickly, and serve with the finest of hand cut potato chips and a crisp mixed green salad.  Yes folks,  Dodge trout and tomatoes, it's the only way to travel!


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