Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tomato = Dessert ?
If you are like me, you really miss some of the fresh flavors of summer when the snow is flying past your window in the dead of winter. And when you think of the flavors of summer, one that you might miss is fresh strawberries. But another might be that quintessential flavor of summer: fresh tomato. I love tomatoes! I even love the smell of the plants themselves, all green and fresh, but somehow astringent in the nicest way. From the innovative minds of the House of Pierre Hermé comes something to challenge all of us. One of his newest summer offerings is his Tarte Intuition, made of a baked lemon cream custard, candied cherry tomatoes, tartare of fresh strawberries and tomatoes (I have to assume it is described that way because it is a spiced and chopped combination of the strawberries and tomatoes, like beef tartare is chopped and spiced beef, served raw) and a crunchy, sugary tart crust. And yes, you did read that right...tomato. Sound unusual? On warm summer evenings, my mother would take one of our freshly-picked tomatoes from the little garden in our backyard, slice it and we would eat it with sugar!! She told me that her father had done this, but she says she doesn't know where he would have gotten the idea, except that he hated anything tart or sour!
So, to my mind, this is not such a far-fetched combination of flavors. I have seen recipes listing vanilla as an enhancement for tomato and remember, a tomato is a fruit!
Here is how he describes his new creation:
“Jammy and sweet, slightly peppery to enhance the fruity flavor, the tomato is thus emerging in concentrated flavors with subtle acidity...revealed through the support of the baked lemon cream,a consistency which recalls the texture of a crème brûlée. The whole is complemented by a strawberry tartare and fresh tomatoes that enhance the taste of a fresh note of spring. An explosion of Mediterranean flavors.”
Is this for everyone? Probably not. Would I be trying it if we were in Paris this summer? Absolutely!!