Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tomato roulette: I'm placing my bets on Black Krim

Black Krims and Brandywine

In a perfect world there would only be 3 types of tomatoes: the canning kind, the slicing kind, and the kind you pop into your mouth while working in the garden. Naturally, they would only be in a single color - red - so figuring out when to snip them off the vine would never pose a problem. Tomato sauce, BLT's and stolen bites of cherry-sized orbs would continue to live happily ever after, that is, until word got out that not all tomatoes are created equal. Boy am I ever glad that the world isn't perfect.

The Black Krim tomatoes (first two in the photo) measured up to everything that I had seen written in tasting reviews. Smoky, intense, exotic tomato flavor, with a coloring so sexy that I had to strip one naked just for you to see. Certainly they aren't black in the truest sense of the word, but more of a dark, burnt, orangish-red color that I tried to capture best in natural light. The shoulders are greenish and typically cracked, a minor "blemish" that is easily dispensed of with the swipe of a sharp knife. While the harvest from two plants was very small this year, I expect to grow at least 5 or more the next. The third tomato in the image is a Pink Brandywine, and while I am not totally sold on the flavor, I love the funky, weird shapes that they develop into.

The tomatoes were quickly blanched and skins slipped off to recreate a dish seen on KennyT's Chic Eats. While his was a greenhouse tomato in wasabi-sesame sauce, the idea of blanched tomatoes with an asian-influenced cream sauce was too good to put on hold. The one that I put together was basically sautéing minced shallots, deglazing with white wine, then adding heavy cream and cooking on low until heated through. Sesame seeds (toasted) were quickly spun in a spice mill before adding, along with wasabi paste, at the very end. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and for a really special touch, shiso flower makes a delicious garnish. Black Krim is the one to the right in the image below. Check that gorgeous color!

Black and pink tomato tasting>

Average daytime temperature: 25°C / 77°F

11 comments:

  1. Removing the skin is a brilliant idea. So often when eating whole large tomatoes, I find it annoying that you can't cut the tomato into bite size pieces with your fork alone. Remove the skin. Problem solved. The sauce you made sounds delicious too. Definitely on my list of recipes to try...

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  2. Yum! Is there any wasabi in Rapallo do you think? probably not, sigh. Where did you get the black krim seed? Is it a hybrid or could you plant from your own seed next year?

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  3. Fern - on the flickr page where that image is hosted, a commenter declared "tomato sashimi!" He was so right on, on that one, and now I'd like to do more skinless tomatoes as a starter.

    Fern D - Rapallo isn't that way out in the boonies...in most grocery stores I've found wasabi paste in the ethnic section - sushi vinegar too! Black Krims are heirlooms (of russian origin). No hybrids for us - I love a good challenge in the garden, and the art of saving seeds should be part of family history.

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  4. Thanks for the images. That Black Krim looks like a beet. What tomato recipes are typical from your region? Me? Sliced on a BBQed burger or chopped into salsa.

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  5. Maybelline - great observation! In Italy the classic dish with tomatoes is in a caprese salad, that is, sliced tomatoes with fresh buffalo milk mozzarella with basil leaves scattered over. I don't think that there is a particular dish from Lombardy as tomatoes primarily started off as a southern thing. BBQ burger and salsa also appear in my kitchen and my husband loves it all!

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  6. Oh, your tomatoes are glorious! I'm so glad you're getting a satisfying, delicious crop. I sure do love me some Black Krim.

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  7. how is the smoky flavor of the tomatoes? Is it intense or just a hint? I'm curious.... I wonder if it would be a good tomato use for my homemade barbque sauce? Stellina

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  8. Christina - in only my 2nd year of tomato-growing, these and the Cherokee Purple have become favorites that we'll cultivate each year. I'm especially excited to see how the Cherokee Purple turns out as seeds used this year were saved from 2008's crop. I'd like to add at least 3 more to our favorites!

    Kat - aren't they just intense?! Especially that Black Krim...hehe...they should name a lipstick color after it!

    Stellina - I would say it was right in the middle, but I believe that with ideal weather conditions, the flavor would be much more intense. I've read somewhere that tomatoes will become a little bland when overwatered, and boy did we ever get rained out this year!

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  9. Mmmmmm.... I just discovered your blog and this post made my mouth water! I'll definitely be checking back for more :-)

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  10. Peter - this is strictly a garden journal, as I've come to learn that it helps to jot down my failures and successes with a particular crop! I took a quick peek at your site and love that photo of you and the Pope!

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