This three part tasting dish I put together to enjoy the bountiful harvest of tomatoes available near the end of summer is comprised of a tomato sorbet, a basil panna cotta, and a simple version of a tomato tart. Utilizing the freshest tomatoes and experimenting with heirloom varieties enhances the complex flavors this dish can produce. Particularly for the cherry tomatoes, you will want to find a myriad of colors, shapes, and sizes to provide visual contrast and texture. Now would also be a good time to invest in some quality rock salt to garnish with. The salt will enhance the flavor of the sorbet and provide a satisfying crunch.
If you’re feeling especially ambitious, check out the dinner party this dish was featured in for more ideas.
For the cherry tart you can either purchase a pre made sweet bread such as brioche or challah or use the brioche recipe here. Just ensure you time the bread preparation so that it has time to rise, bake, and cool.
Order of Preparation
Prepare and cook the tomatoes and onions for the sorbet
Prepare the basil panna cotta and chill
Finish the tomato sorbet and freeze
Prepare the cherry tomatoes and tart
Ingredients: Serves 6
- 1 Kilogram heirloom tomatoes; peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped (see directions)
- 100g Sugar
- 100g Water
- 15g Olive oil
- 40g Finely diced onion
- 15g Red wine vinegar
- 5g Chopped tarragon
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 4g Kosher salt
- One loaf of sweet bread (brioche or challah) store bought or pre made from this recipe cut into six 3 inch rounds
- 24-36 Cherry tomatoes of varying sizes, shapes, and colors; peeled (see directions)
- 2g Kosher Salt
- 6g Olive Oil
Basil Panna Cotta
- 25g Basil leaves, washed and dried
- 250g Cream
- 15g water
- 4g gelatin
- 15g sugar
- Small Basil Leaves for garnish
- Large white rock salt (Portuguese or Maldon for example)
- Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil and prepare an ice water bath
- Core the tomatoes and cut a small X into the bottom of each one to begin loosening the skin
- When the water has come to a rolling boil, drop the tomatoes in for thirty seconds or until the skin begins to crack along the seams of the X you made
- Transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath and chill until cold enough to handle
- Remove the skins and discard. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and squeeze out all the seeds and juice. Rough chop the remaining tomato flesh.
- Place the chopped tomatoes in a high sided non stick pot and bring to a simmer.
- Cook at a simmer for 45 minutes to concentrate the flavors. There should be some liquid remaining.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, sauté the onions over medium low heat until soft and translucent (about 7 minutes)
- While the onion and tomatoes are cooking, place the sugar and water in a small
- Place the tomatoes, red wine vinegar, tarragon, and cayenne in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Add half the sugar and water mixture and taste for sweetness. Depending on your tomatoes and how much they reduces, you may need more or less sweetener.
- Add the salt and again check the taste and adjust if necessary.
- Cool the mixture over an ice bath and then freeze in an ice cream maker.
- Store in the freezer until 30 min before ready to use.
Basil Panna Cotta
- Combine the cream, sugar, and basil leaves in a small saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat and then immediately remove from heat. Cover with a lid and steep for 20 minutes
- While the basil mixture is steeping, dissolve the gelatin in the water and reserve until needed.
- After the steeping period, strain out the basil and discard. Stir in the gelatin mixture until fully dissolved.
- Divide equally among six 2oz ramekins, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
- Bring a pot of water to boil and prepare an ice water bath
- Cut a small X into the top of each cherry tomato where the stem was attached.
- Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, just enough to loosen the skins
- Carefully peel the tomatoes and discard the skins
- Store the tomatoes at room temperature until ready to serve
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and toast the bread rounds for 5 minutes
- Toss the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil and salt
- Plate the basil panna cotta onto the plate and garnish with the reserves smaller basil leaves
- Place the bread onto the plate and top with the cherry tomatoes attempting to create a vertical tower that is stable. Use 4-5 tomatoes per bread round
- Place a quenelle of tomato sorbet onto the plate
- Finish the dish with the rock salt, serve, and enjoy!