I have not even sunk my teeth yet into tomato season, because real tomatoes are very hard to find in Harlem, (as they are in any supermarketed neighborhood). I miss the Borough Hall Farmers Market, just a ten minute walk away from where we used to live in Brooklyn. And the days of our rooftop, all-day-sun tomatoes seem long gone, too. They were wonderful. Last year this time we just coming to grips with having to move.
The local supermarkets - and Wholefoods! - stock Canadian tomatoes, Mexican tomatoes, Floridian...sure. But I want a fat heirloom, grown across the river, or upstate. I have a date with the Union Square Farmers Market this Wednesday.
But here is an idea for some small tomatoes, somewhere in size between cherry and a red golf ball.
This is very simple to make but it makes even hothouse specials taste good, with a distinct sweetness.
You can use buffalo mozzarella or fresh mozzarella, but I love the collapsing creaminess of burrata. It drifts into the sweet tomato juice and this chance-meeting sauce cries for a crust of bread (rubbed with garlic, perhaps) to be dipped into it..
Roasted Tomato Caprese with Burrata - substantial for two, dainty for four
2 tsps olive oil
8 small tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 round of burrata, drained
6-8 leaves of basil
In a pan, over medium heat, warm the 2 tsps of olive oil. Add the whole tomatoes, season with a pinch of salt and some black pepper, and put a lid over the pan. After a minute or so, shake the pan, to stop them from sticking.
Lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently for 10 - 15 minutes, shaking occasionally, until their juices are oozing, the skin is crinkled, and the tomatoes collapsed but still entire. Put aside to cool.
When tepid, arrange the tomatoes evenly on a pretty plate. Take the burrata and carefully pull chunks off it, and dab them around the plate, over the tomatoes. Season with a tiny amount of salt and more black pepper, and a drizzle of very good olive oil ( we use Wolfgang's, or the Koringberg oil from our friends Johan and Peter - we are lucky!).
Tear up the basil leaves and toss over the top.
There. Done. Eat.