This weekend I was finally able to get a hold of some really MASSIVE heirloom tomatoes. The last couple of weeks have been on the medium to small size, but still excellent. However, I come from the school of “size is everything” when it comes to tomatoes — if they’re big, and they’re ripe, then they’re usually going to blow your socks off in terms of juicyness (did I spell that right?) and flavor.
These massive tomatoes came from my local farmer’s market here in Walnut Creek. The one front and center weighs 2.23lbs, which is over a Kilogram. It’s a naturally yellow-green tomato when fully ripe. The others are around a pound to a pound and a half each.
When I first got home; I made one of my favorite sandwiches. The “Classic” BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato of course) is a proper vessel for a large, ripe summer tomato.
While not requiring large tomatoes per se, the simple carprese salad (this was my dinner appetizer course the same night) is probably one of the best uses of summer tomatoes, period, if you’re not sandwich inclined. However, you wouldn’t do wrong by eating this on nice crusty bread either. Just slice, season with kosher salt, a few turns of fresh black pepper, a slice of buffalo mozzarella, drizzle of good evo, sprinkle of fresh basil and Voila!!
Looking for something else to do with all your tomatoes? How about making some sorbet? Savory sorbets have a refreshing, cool texture and a piquant zing that make your taste buds dance. They are a thinking person’s dish, conjuring up old food memories such as tomatoes, lemon and basil, or red peppers, but delivering them in a surprising, new package. The perfect ripe tomatoes make an off the charts chilly dish that can be enjoyed for dessert or put a scoop in a large bowl of cucumber soup, gazpacho or chilled avocado soup. Here is my recipe for the sorbet; I will be using on my menu next week paired with a sweet corn creme brulee.
Ingredients for sorbet:
6-7 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces (I didn’t peel)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
pinch chopped tarragon
3/4 cup simple syrup
julienned zest of 1/2 orange (about 1 teaspoon) brought to a boil in cold water, drained and repeated 2 more times
salt and pepper
Method for sorbet:
*Bring the tomatoes to a boil in a saucepan, reduce heat and cook, stirring often about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are reduced by half. There will still be some liquid remaining
*Heat the oil, add the onions and cook for 7-8 minutes until tender.
*I ran the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the skins. Then put both the tomatoes and onion in a blender until smooth.
*Press the mixture through a tamis and then blend again. There should be about 1 cup. Add the remaining sorbet ingredients and blend again. Refrigerate until cold. Freeze in an ice cream maker. Best to use the same day.