RED BANK: VIA45 CHEFS GO TO MARKET

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Chef Claudette Herring slices some of the heirloom tomatoes she and partner Lauren Phillips picked up last Sunday at the Red Bank Farmers Market. Below, Herring and Phillips at Via 45, their Broad Street restaurant. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

via45 (4)“We’re going to miss the tomatoes. And the corn. The corn was so sweet this year,” chef Claudette Herring of Red Bank’s Via45 says wistfully of the change of seasons. “We’re not going to have corn like that in the winter.”

Herring and Via45 chef Lauren Phillips did some shopping at the Red Bank Farmers Market last Sunday to get a read on what’s available as we teeter from summer into fall.

The chefs suggest keeping an eye out for the last of the season’s heirloom and grape- or cherry-sized tomatoes, and found some large yellow varieties at the market.

“These tomatoes are beautiful, and they won’t be around much longer,” says Herring.

“Normally people do sauce with red tomatoes, but you can use the yellow, and they’re a nice surprise,” says Phillips.

“You could use these yellow tomatoes in a pomodoro fresco,” says Herring. “It’s just olive oil, garlic, and what you do is dice some fresh tomatoes and put them in – cook them just for a couple of minutes. You want a really fresh sauce.”

When they make it at the restaurant, she says, “we break up some mozzarella and toss it in. You can serve that over pasta, or if you want, you can add some shrimp or sausage.”

“The eggplants right now are beautiful, too,” says Phillips, noting the slender Japanese varieties she found at the market. “You can roast them in the oven or grill them.”

Philips also suggests keeping your eyes open for kale.

“We make a kale and quinoa salad with raw kale at the restaurant when we can find tender leaves,” she says.

And with the coming of fall, both chefs agreed that kale, sausage and potato soup is a great way to incorporate kale.

“It’s warm and wonderful,” says Phillips.