Heirloom Tomatoes are Always the Star

Posted by on August 30, 2011

If there is one item of produce that I most eagerly await every summer, it is the heirloom tomato. They’re definitely good enough to eat by themselves — I usually just slice them up and add a bit of salt — but added to a dish, they take the food to another level. Dishes with heirlooms should keep other flavors simple and clean, so that the bright freshness of the tomatoes isn’t hidden behind loads of other strong tastes. They simply don’t need it.

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I got some beautiful Black Krim and Yellow Brandywine varieties at a nearby farmers’ market, and used them for a grilled thin-crust pizza. Keeping it simple, I brushed the top of my crust (Peter Reinhart’s recipe) with a bit of olive oil, added a thin layer of shredded mozzarella cheese, slices of de-pulped tomatoes, and finally a few sprinkles of goat cheese. I chose shredded mozzarella to lessen the amount of liquid on the pizza so that the crust would stay crisp (since the heirlooms are very juicy), but you could use fresh mozzarella if you prefer. I grilled it on a stone at about 500 degrees for around 10-13 minutes, until the crust looked well browned and the bottom was slightly charred. A final sprinkle of fresh basil rounded everything out.
Crust
The crust was outstanding — perfectly crisp, with a nice crunch as you bit into it. Of course, the heirlooms were the star of the dish — every bite burst with a tangy sweetness unmatched by off-season tomato impostors. Since the pizza itself is very simple, I paired it with a plate of roasted red and yellow bell peppers and italian sausage to create a full late-summer meal. But hurry! The farmstand bounty is waning as fast as the days of summer.

Basil

 

 

 

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