One of my favorite times of year, is the month of February.
Living in South Florida makes it even more special. We have the luxury of one of the best climates in the nation, and it’s the time where Heirloom tomatoes, immerse and becomes available.
The tomato has long been a stable in every day meals and menu’s, and an important component in many cultures.
I would dare to say that the “ Heirloom “ tomato took a big bite of menu space some 25 – 30 years ago.
Local farms were growing beautiful “ Heirlooms “ for lucky restaurant to serve
They were no longer just red, but now seasoned with sexy names.
Some of the most famous examples include San Marzano, Brandywine, Green Zebra, Gardeners Delight, Lollipop, Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, Black Krim, Amish Paste, Aunt Ruby’s German green, Big Rainbow, Chocolate Cherry, Redcurrant and Three Sisters. Just to mention a few.
Heirloom tomatoes can be classified into 4 categories; Family heirlooms, commercial heirlooms, mystery heirlooms and created heirlooms.
All dependent of how the seeds heritage, traveled thru the years and growing seasons
What I enjoy is their taste. Refreshing, sweet, acidic and simply served with a splash of good olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt can satisfy any discriminating palate.
A recipe I would like to share is “ Fresh heirloom Tomatoes with Corn flake and Almond crusted Goat Cheese “.
The tomatoes should be bought fresh in your favorite market or at one of our neighbor hood farmers markets, choose a variety of colors and species, make sure they are firm and ripe to the touch.
Make a simple dressing of;
1 ½ tea spoon red wine vinegar
½ tea spoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
¼ tea spoon sugar
Salt and fresh cracked peppercorn.
Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, set aside.
Start with 3 lbs of tomatoes,
Cut tomatoes into halves, wedges or cubes, depending of the size of the tomatoes,
Place in a bowl, set aside.
For the “ Corn Flake and Almond Crusted Goat Cheese “
With a warm knife, slice 6 “ discs “ of goat cheese, 3 oz each , set aside
3 cups of corn flakes
½ cup of toasted almonds
Combine them in a food processor and blend until chopped ( like bread crumbs )
2 cups of flour
2 eggs beaten
Bread the goat cheese by first rolling them in the flour, next a soak in the eggs, and finally thoroughly coated with the corn flake and almond mixture.
Set aside in the cooler for at least an hour.
When ready to serve,
Heat a frying pan with ¼ inch of vegetable oil, about 325 degrees, gently and safely add the goat cheese discs into the oil and cook until golden brown, turn once and repeat on second side,
Remove onto a paper towel.
Pour the simple dressing over the cut tomatoes and gently toss and coat the tomatoes with the dressing.
Arrange tomatoes on individual serving plates, place the goat cheese on top and serve immediately .
It is a great starter to a nice evening , especially accompanied by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc,
And followed with a treat from the BBQ
Jan Jorgensen is chef/owner of Two Chefs Restaurant, 8287 S. Dixie Hwy. Phone: 305-663-2100; www.twochefsrestaurant.com.