Showcasing Tempting Tomatoes
It’s only very recently that there has been conversation (and excitement) about heirloom tomatoes in the local food circles. Heirloom or heritage tomatoes are an open-pollinated, non-hybrid cultivar. The term ‘heirloom’ is often misunderstood; you can read more about heirloom toms here.
A bigger local food store – the shame, it should have been a farmer’s market, I know, assembled small boxes of what they labelled ‘exotic’ tomatoes – coeur de boef, tiger stripe, pink, marmade, yellow tomatoes. Such exquisite visuals and for those not accustomed to the variety, like us, an absolute treat. I’m not claiming these to be strictly heirloom, but they did look and taste marvelous, Mavis. The tomatoes actually taste of tomato, with differing characteristics – a little bit of umami (savoury), some sweet, others fruity.
The first thing I did with them, was to make these stacks, using a basil infused boerenkaas (farmer’s cheese) from my local cheesemonger at the market, ripe avocado and basil leaves. Fresh buffalo mozzarella would be the traditional choice of cheese, and a perfect one. I also slow roasted the some of the smaller tomatoes, used a very ripe marmande in a barely cooked pasta sauce and the others in salads.
We enjoyed these tomato ‘caprese’ stacks sprinkled with sea salt for lunch. Serve on a large platter as a starter or with a main course of chicken or fish. I can imagine these on a generous summer tapas board too, especially if made with the smaller tomatoes.
I’ve gone for a slightly moodier look with some of the photographs. Think it showcases the deep reds, green and orange of the tomatoes better.
As a guideline per stack:
-3 slices tomato
-2-3 slices avocado
-2 slices buffalo mozzarella or hard cheese such as boerenkaas, hard or soft goat’s cheese (not too sharp)
-2-3 basil leaves
-salt and pepper to taste
-extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
(balsamic reduction – only necessary if tomatoes aren’t the best. You don’t want to disguise the taste of top grade tomatoes)
Arrange stacks starting with a tomato slice and ending with a tomato slice or a basil leaf. Skewer with a bamboo stick or toothpick.
You may also like, these ‘caprese’ stacks made with starking apples, hard Dutch goat’s cheese, cos lettuce and basil pesto: