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Cooking with Heirloom Tomatoes

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
So on top of working on the line I have a job at a natural foods store... The other day we recieved a shipment of beautiful heirloom tomatoes in all their distinct varieties. The moment they came in with the fresh basil I was thinking bruschetta or a grilled pizza (both sounded good), but I have yet to see a recipe or even TASTE them.

I was wondering if anyone who is experienced with heirlooms might help to inspire me.
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
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Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
Reply
post #2 of 22
I tend not to cook my heirloom tomatoes, for 2 reasons. #1. Some of the funky colored ones tend to lose their color or turn an unappetizing color. #2. Many of the nuances of these tomatoes can be lost in cooking. I usually do things like make a tomato salad, combining 4,5, 6 or even 8 different tomatoes in 1 salad, add them to other salads, make salsa or pico de gallo, sandwiches, or anything where they remain uncooked or just partially or quickly cooked. Your ideas for bruschetta and pizza would work great. Or make a killer gazpacho!!!
post #3 of 22
I use mine cooked and raw. But they're awfully expensive to use in bulk for a sauce unless you grow your own. I agree with Pete that the colors can change a bit, but with the right combination, I think the result can be pretty and appetizing. Just be careful to use only a few of the "purple" varieties in the mix.
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #4 of 22
Ditto what Pete said.

Tomato salad, bruschetta, salsa, or gazpacho.

Or with mozzarella and fresh basil.

Their flavors are too unique to lose via cooking. It would be like putting an expensive wine in the punch bowl.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #5 of 22

Ditto Ditto Ditto

And again....ditto.

Heirlooms have wonderful flavors that are easily lost with heat. I have many growing in my garden....I just pick them off the vine and eat them right then & there most of the time!!! :D

One thing I do like to do though is to take 3 distinctly different colors of tomatoes, skin and slice them. Then take a loafpan & line with saran wrap. Next I take a layer of crustless day-old bread, brush with some good olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, garlic, basil...whatever you're in the mood for, a layer of one of the tomatoes, another layer of bread, olive oil & a different tomato. Keep layering until you are out of ingredients. Finish it off by covering with saran and laying a brick over the loaf. Let it press for several hours in the fridge. Slice and enjoy. It's a nice, very colorful summertime treat.
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
post #6 of 22
cook hierloom tomatoes as you would sushi :lips:
pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
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pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
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post #7 of 22
I think a really ripe heirloom tomato would make a killer sorbet or granita. Maybe instead of using plain water, you could make a light thai basil tea and cool it off afterwards.
post #8 of 22
heeheehee :D I like that. That's great.
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
post #9 of 22
How about this?

Ripe heirloom tomatoes, plenty of sea salt, some bread, some cheese, a bottle of chianti, and the woman of your dreams to share them with?

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #10 of 22
I'm going to (gently) disagree ;) . Some heirlooms have very subtle flavors that might not survive cooking, but regular supermarket tomatoes have no taste at all! So they need lots of tomato paste and herbs (and cooking down) to get a decent flavor. The only thing delicate about stronger-flavored heirlooms is (often) the skin, which makes them a bad choice for supermarkets and long-distance trucking.
The ones I used in my sauce the other night (except for the non-heirloom Jet Stars) were sweet, tangy and lost very little in cooking. http://www.cheftalkcafe.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=14493

Now don't get me wrong; I use uncooked tomatoes all the time (particularly as I walk through the garden, checking for tomato-chomping, multilegged critters) :D
Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #11 of 22
heres a good one with minimal cooking- i use 'yellow pear' and 'mr. stripey'
yellow and orange heirlooms-cut 'em in half, seed and then freeze. thaw them out in a strainer-but not weighted. you just want to get rid of a little of the water. (you can catch the water off them if you want it for a syrup) add a little garlic, onion, celery and carrot that have been sweated in olive oil and cooled and whup it all together with an immersion blender...then heat all this through. salt to taste, maybe a litle tarragon, dill or basil.....i make this about twice a week in august. it comes out bright orange and WONDERFUL! have it as a soup or chill it and drink it. tastes like sunshine.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great information! I especially like the idea for the heirloom soups and that sandwich sounds delicious. Perhaps when the cash gods grant this poor cook a bit more funding he will be able to experiment with both cooked and uncooked heirlooms and report back with information regarding taste changes.

Again, thanks. :chef:
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
Reply
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
Reply
post #13 of 22
Short cooking would not be out of the question. Diced heirlooms quickly sauteed with garlic, shallot, fresh basil and olive oil would be great tossed with some fresh pasta for a light summer dinner.
post #14 of 22
chinds-honey, you can grow your own 'maters! they are a great container plant, outdoors facing south with no wind or indoors with extra u.v. you can even grow them in a pickle bucket in the bathroom under the heat light. tomatoes are super easy. don't deny yourself a treat!
post #15 of 22
A pickle bucket?! :confused: Do you have a photo? Love to see it! :D
But I agree about containers. We don't have much bedding space in our rental house, so I've got sixteen 15-gallon containers going wild with mostly heirlooms outside. The great thing about pots is that you can move them to where the sun is. Just keep them watered and fed.
Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
Reply
post #16 of 22
Pickle Bucket Pics:

post #17 of 22
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Thank you, mudbug!
Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
Reply
Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
Reply
post #18 of 22
you da man, 'bug! :)
heat an icepick, melt twenty or thirty holes in the bottom of said bucket and use the lid for a saucer.
post #19 of 22
If you meet the farmers raising heirlooms they'll have plenty of culls for cheap....
Aug 13 is Heirloom Tomato Fest at Clayton Farmer's Market. Nicko was one of the first judges of the amatuer cooking contest. There were some interesting entries.
This year I'll have 8 chefs serving tomato dishes (last year one of the highlights was vodka tomato sorbet) and an amatuer cooking contest as well as biggest, sweetest....etc....
Tomatoes are us!!!! My fav heirlooms are German (big 2-3 # yellow with pink veins) Brandywines and sungold orange cherry tomatoes that SCREAM sweet.
I cook a sungold pasta sauce with garlic, haricot verte and cream.....YUMMMMMM
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #20 of 22
We currently make two items for our restaurant with Heirloom tomatoes:

Caprese Salad. -- Slice heirloom, burrata cheese, fresh basil. Topped with fleur de sel, a premium extra virgin olive oil, fresh chiffonade basil and 12 year aged balsamic vinegar.

Margherita Pizza -- Thin hand tossed crust, extra virgin olive oil, sliced heirloom, light shredded mozz, slices of fresh ovaline mozzarella on top. Topped with fresh chiffonade basil and fleur de sel after cooking and slicing.

One we make for ourselves:

Bread Salad -- Diced heirloom tomatoes with the juice from the diced tomatoes, fresh basil, diced stale bread, red onions, premium extra virgin olive oil, fleur de sel, a few drops of 12 year aged balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.

:lips: :roll: :talk:
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
OH! You're killin' me! That salad with the aged basalmic sounds amazing!
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
Reply
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
Reply
post #22 of 22
Just saw this tomato article at epicurious and thought I'd share:

Summer Tomatoes
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
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