Farm Fresh Pick of the Week: Tomato

Friday, May 25, 2012 11:00

Colorful Classic-Inspired Creations

by Casey Pukl

Whether they’re raw, stewed, roasted, or pureed into a sauce, tomatoes have always been a huge part of my diet. Rich in lycopene, these little vegetables (they’re actually technically fruits) are great for your health. Tomatoes come in several varieties ranging from heirloom to cherry, and beefsteak to grape. Each variety has it’s own set of unique flavors, shapes, and sizes. Tomatoes are best enjoyed when slightly soft and ripe, but not mushy.

Today, Executive Sous Chef Kristen Burman and beverage manager Marc Canzoneri have two special recipes to share using this delicious farm fresh treat!

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella
Bread, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

When I think of tomatoes, I instantly think of Italian cuisine. From the classic caprese salad to a light marinara sauce, tomatoes are a staple, and for good reason! This week’s Farm Fresh dish was inspired by a classic, rustic Italian dish that’s ideal for warmer weather.

Panzanella is a classic Italian salad made up of stale bread and tomatoes which originated in Florence. While there has been some debate regarding the original recipe’s ingredients, the staples have remained the same. Executive Sous Chef, Kristen Burman, starts with some torn pieces of stale bread and ripe tomatoes. “You can use fresh bread as well,” she says, “but the stale bread absorbs the juices better.”

Toss the bread in a little melted butter, and then toast it for a few minutes. While the bread is toasting, cut the tomatoes into cubes or wedges (whichever you prefer), and place them in a large bowl. Once the bread is toasted to a nice golden brown, toss it with the tomatoes, fresh torn basil, a sherry or white balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste!

This recipe is a perfect appetizer for those outdoor summer parties, or even as a light meal. You can’t go wrong!

Elegant Mary
Creator: Marc Canzoneri

1 oz Absolut Peppar
1 oz Absolut
Tomato Water
Tobasco Sauce
Celery Salt
Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper & Lime Zest Rim

Instructions: Add all ingredients except the rim to shaker. Shake, strain, and pour into martini glass rimmed with Cayenne pepper and lime zest. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and an olive.

Elegant Mary is the perfect name for this drink. Derived from the classic Bloody Mary, this one packs quite a punch, yet isn’t as thick and filling— think of a Bloody Mary in martini form. While this one might be a little stiff for brunch, it’s perfect for the evening.

Be sure to come on out and give these recipes a try as always! Specials are available as long as supplies last, so be sure to get here soon! We’ve also got some great acts on our stage including the John Patitucci Trio tonight, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic on Sunday, and the Marshall Tucker Band on Wednesday!