Juicy Fruits: Tomato-centric Dishes by Four Boston-Area Chefs
Truth is, it’s nearly impossible to top the summertime pleasure of a sandwich made with mayonnaise, flaky salt, cracked pepper, and a few fat slices of that perfect seasonal treat, the tomato. Of course, that hasn’t kept a number of fine area chefs from creating inspired tomato-centric dishes of their own. Here’s a sampling.
Gazpacho › Salts, Cambridge
Chef-owner Gabriel Bremer puts a twist on the classic Spanish soups gazpacho and salmorejo (a creamy, puréed tomato-and-bread soup that’s served cold) by using some of the 30-odd varieties of heirloom tomatoes he grows on his New Hampshire farm. “Here, you have all of the traditional garnishes that you would see in gazpacho, but everything has been tweaked a little,” Bremer says, pointing to the toasted bread slivers, olive oil powder, and fresh herbs and flowers that make his version anything but traditional.
Provençal-style Gratin › Gaslight, South End
Inspired by a traditional French dish called tomatoes Provençal—in which overripe tomatoes are stuffed with stale bread and cheese and then roasted—chef Mike Zentner created a dish of soubise (a light, oniony cream sauce) topped with tomato wedges, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and herbs. “Everything kind of moves together, so it almost has this pizza quality to it,” Zentner says. For an added flourish, he roasts it to order in a cast-iron Staub dish.
Heirloom Salad › Lineage, Brookline
You’ll find a tomato-and-mozzarella salad on every menu in town—which is why chef de cuisine Alex Saenz wanted to mix his up a bit, creating a dish based on his mother’s tomato-and-chickpea salad recipe. Crisp-edged panisse croutons stand in for the chickpeas, while a hazelnut romesco sauce, pickled shallots, and an ají amarillo aioli add creaminess, heat, and tang.
Tomato Panna Cotta › 5 Corners Kitchen, Marblehead
“I like taking things that are normally savory and making them sweet, because I’m not a fan of super-sweet desserts,” says chef-owner Barry Edelman. To make this after-dinner treat, Edelman infuses tomato-water syrup into a panna cotta base, and, for brightness and a sweet-savory complexity, tops it with a thin layer of tomato-marjoram gelée, candied cracked pepper, and a honey-glazed tomato slice.