Heirloom Tomatoes & Stracciatella
Easy to prepare, a delight to serve, and so much fun to eat, the last of summer harvest tomatoes are peeled, cored, and stuffed with the center or “rags” of burrata, an Italian buffalo milk fresh buttery textured cheese and plopped on a simple brilliant green basil purée. Unexpected, serve these luscious fruits with a steak knife and sit back as these surprise tomato bombs steal the show. Only in season tomatoes will incite the wow factor. Blanching the basil before making the purée preserves the brilliant green color. Rich in lypocene and vitamin C, this preparation is superfood bliss.
The tomatoes may be made a few hours in advance and stuffed just before serving. The basil olive oil mixture may be made and refrigerated for up to 2 days—the color will not be as brilliant but will still taste divine. Use only heirloom variety tomatoes—others are too watery and will not hold their shape.
4 large heirloom tomatoes
1 cup stracciatella or burrata
2 cups basil, leaves only, reserve 8 of the smallest leaves for garnish, leave a tiny bit of the stem intact
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
1. Fill a 4 QUART POT with just enough cold water that the tomatoes will barely be covered and bring the water to a boil.
2. Use a PARING KNIFE to slice a small X on the bottom of each tomato.
3. Lower the boiling water to a rolling simmer and using a large slotted spoon, lower the tomatoes, one by one, into the pot. Leave the tomatoes in the simmering water for 1 minute, or just until the skins loosen and begin to pull away from the flesh. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to a paper towel to cool and drain.
4. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully peel the skin off of them.
5. In the same pot of simmering water used to boil the tomatoes, drop in the basil leaves and blanch for 30 seconds. Immediately plunge the basil into an ice bath. When cold, place the basil leaves on a paper towel and squeeze out excess water.
6. Place the basil leaves, sea salt, and olive oil in a Vitamix or blender (alternatively, use an immersion blender) and whir the mixture into a purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning.
7. Use the paring knife to remove the stem and core of the tomatoes, making sure not to pierce through the bottom of the tomato. Carefully remove the core and flesh and make an even tunnel 1” in diameter. Place the tomato, hole size down, on a paper towel and set aside.
8. Using a small spoon, drizzle the basil oil onto the center of each plate slightly larger than the diameter of the tomato.
9. Stuff the tomato with as much stracciatella as possible and place on a pool of the basil purée.
10. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the sea salt, garnish with the basil leaves and serve immediately.