Fire and Ice Tomatoes (Tennessee, 1978, adapted)

This recipe has got personality top to bottom, from the title to the spicy flavors to the sassy instructions.  Doris C., the original author from Thorn Grove Baptist Church , sounds like my type of people.  Doris also appears to be related, by marriage, to the author of the over-the-top MSG-fueled Chicken Delicious casserole in the same cookbook.  They would have been a family worth knowing.

Fire and Ice Tomatoes are, at heart, a vinegared tomato salad with zesty spices (the fire) and cucumbers (the ice).  The sauce isn’t terribly spicy by modern extreme flavor standards, but still has quite a kick.  The original recipe describes it as ‘sultry’, which seems entirely appropriate.  It’s perfect for a zippy summer salad or even as a hamburger topping.

When I make this I prefer to substitute other, tastier peppers for the green bell pepper, which can add some unpleasant bitterness and get a weird flaccidity when pickled.  Our local market stocks a variety of flavorful but mild green and yellow peppers, like Anaheim, pasilla, or sweet Hungarian peppers, any or all of which are better options.  I will also throw in a couple of serranos or jalapenos if I have them in the house.

Fire and Ice Tomatoes (Tennessee, 1978, adapted)

  • Preparation: 15 min
  • Cooking: 10 min
  • Ready in: 25 min
  • For: 6 servings
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The vegetables

The sultry sauce

When ready to serve


Prepare the vegetables:

  1. Cut a small cross in the skin on the bottom of each tomato. Blanch quickly in boiling water 1-2 minutes until skins come off easily. Skin and quarter and set aside.
  2. Cut pepper into thin strips. Cut onion into thin rings. Add to a large bowl with tomatoes and set aside.

Prepare the sauce

  1. Mix ingredients together and bring to a boil. Boil furiously for 1 minute.
  2. Pour sauce over vegetables. Toss gently to coat. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve, at least four hours.

When ready to serve

  1. Prior to serving, skin and thinly slice a couple of cucumbers. Toss the cucumber slices with the chilled vegetables and serve immediately.

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