4 to 6 servings
Trust a Frenchman to take the inspired Italian combination of tomatoes and mozzarella and make it divine. Claude Colliot, chef and owner of the restaurant Claude Colliot/Bambouche in Paris, stacks slices of tomato with slices of buffalo milk mozzarella, then drizzles it with that elegant deep-green elixir, pistachio oil.
The Coeur de Boeuf (beef heart) tomato Claude uses has extremely tender and flavorful flesh, a quality that drives farmers crazy because it makes the tomatoes extremely fragile. They must be picked very ripe to have flavor, but when they are that ripe, they are almost impossible to transport because they blemish if you even look at them for a moment too long. Because of this, very few actually get to market.
2 very large (about 9 ounces; 270 g each)
ripe tomatoes, cored, and cut into thick slices
8 ounces (250 g) fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 equal slices
1/4 cup (25 g) salted pistachios, dark skins rubbed off
and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons (45 ml) pistachio oil or extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel
Sprig of fresh basil
1. Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices alternately on a serving platter. (If there aren't enough slices of mozzarella to alternate with all the slices of tomato, work it out so the salad looks balanced and lovely.)
2. In a small bowl, stir the pistachio nuts into the oil, then drizzle the mixture evenly over the tomatoes and cheese. Season with fleur de sel, and garnish with the basil sprig. Serve at room temperature.
Astuces: There are several types of tomatoes, called Oxhearts in English, that resemble the Coeur de Boeuf, including the Bull's Heart, Hungarian Heart, Anna Russian, and German Red Strawberry. All are excellent prepared this way because they have the characteristic tender skin, sweet flesh balanced by a slight acidity, and few seeds. If you cannot find any of these tomatoes, use the most flavorful perfectly ripe and juicy tomatoes you can find. Goat cheese makes a fine substitute for the mozzarella.
Cooking at Home on Rue Tatin
by Susan Herrmann Loomis
336 pages, $24.95; $34.95 (CAN), Hardcover
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created July 2005
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