17 August 2009

Layered Heirloom Tomatoes with Feta & Basil Oil



Layered Heirloom Tomatoes with Feta and Basil Oil

In recent years, heirloom tomatoes have caught the fancy of an increasing number of gardeners and local growers. Heirloom varieties which are at least 50 years old are plants that have been grown year after year for generations, handed down from gardener to gardener. These are the tomatoes that people have fallen in love with, and have deemed worthy of keeping.

Heirloom tomatoes have several advantages over hybrids. They have outstanding flavour, come in a variety of colours...pink, yellow, orange, maroon, purple.... may be marbled or striped, have unusual shapes (until the 20th century, tomato varieties were every shape but round) and an extended growing season. However, heirlooms are more prone to disease than hybrid varieties. They have names like Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Kellogg's Breakfast, San Marzano, Yellow Pear and Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter!!!

When I was recently at my local Italian market the owners daughter asked if I would enjoy some of her dad's Roma tomatoes from his garden. Imagine my delight when they were as big as your fist and not the small Roma's you find in a can for your tomato sauce. He brought the seeds over from Italy years ago and continues to grow them lovingly year after year.

Since it is peak tomato season I went in search of the perfect heirlooms. When in Peachland over the weekend I visited the farmers market and made my way straight to the Heirloom Lady who grows delightful varieties like this striped version and Brandywine. They are so sweet and delicious and every colour of the rainbow. The rich tapestry of colors, the diversity and depth of their flavor, and the general beauty of these tomatoes provide an experience that your average grocery store tomato just can't match!!! My next creation I will name "Painted Desert Heirloom Tomato Salad" with every colour of the sunset spread across your plate.

Such special tomatoes deserved a special presentation so I layered them with some feta cheese and topped all with a quick and easy basil oil. Zip, tuck and your done!!! Are they worth the extra cost? I was in heaven and you will be too!!!

**Layered Heirloom Tomatoes with Feta and Basil Oil**

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 red heirloom tomatoes, each cut into 3 slices
3 yellow heirloom tomatoes, each cut into
3 slices1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup diced red onion

Process olive oil and basil in a blender or immersion blender until pureed; set aside.

Stir together shallots and next 3 ingredients. Pour over red and yellow tomato slices; toss gently. Set aside.

Place feta cheese in a large bowl; mash with a fork. Stir in onion.

Place bottom slice of red or yellow tomato on a serving plate. Spread about 2 tablespoons of feta mixture over slice; drizzle with about a teaspoon reserved basil oil. Repeat with middle slice of tomato, feta mixture, and basil oil. Top with stem end of tomato. Repeat with remaining tomatoes, feta mixture, and basil oil. Drizzle tomatoes with remaining shallot marinade and basil oil.

Serves 6

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
Best Blogger Tips

36 comments:

  1. I agree, they are worth the extra cost. Amazing and delicious. All their shapes and colors just make them look all the tastier!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, I'm drooling! That is a fabulous way of preparing tomatoes!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  3. A great heirloom is like vegetable candy. So sweet. Worth the price.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This looks so beautiful, Val! I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful!!! I wish I could get tomatoes like that...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I adore heirloom tomatoes. In fact we are growing Cherokee Purples, Mr. Stripy and some yellow ones in our herb garden. I love your basil oil and everything looks so pretty stacked with the basil leaf on top. Gorgeous.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  7. Stunning Val! I envy you having such a wonderful choice of tomatoes. The recipe is nice and simple too...and flavoursome I bet!

    ReplyDelete
  8. YES!!!! Something other than mozzarella and basil! At the start of summer I like caprese salads but by this point I am pretty tired of them and looking for something to mix it up but still not require turning on the stove.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gorgeous! A post after my own heart...I adore tomatoes fresh from the garden...especially heirlooms (and you listed my absolute fave first...Cherokee Purple)!!! This sounds delicious...I could go for some right now. Or just give a tomato and I'll sprinkle on some sea salt and eat it like an apple! :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. Heirlooms are one of the best fruits on earth. They are so good, in fact, that I bet the angels sit up in heaven eating these in the summertime!

    Love your recipe! Simply scrumptious!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh Val, I want to dig right into this!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You have given these heirloom tomatoes a royal treatment....the focus is still on the lovely tomatoes, but the addition of feta and basil.....how can that be wrong????

    ReplyDelete
  13. very artistic - that dish really caught my eye!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tomatoes are my favorite thing to grow because there is so many varieties I always find myself planting a couple more to see what they turn out like. The major problem is the lack of disease resistance but I have found planting other plants around them that I have found such as marigolds and herbs really help (something I picked up in an organic gardening book and of course I can't remember the title).

    Nicely done!! BTW the mortgage lifter has the be the world's largest tomato. I planted two last year and they toppled over my cages because of the size.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Heirloom tomatoes really do taste better. This looks like a wonderful way to enjoy them!

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is a nice way to enjoy some nice tomatoes!

    ReplyDelete
  17. That looks so beautiful Val! I love heirloom tomatoes!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Gorgeous picture. I love tomatoes that smell like tomatoes and the scent of these heirlooms jumps off the screen. You could also add some watermelon (hehehe), but honestly, for heirlooms, I'd just keep it simple!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Val, this looks absolutely delicious! Perhaps one of the finest ways to enjoy heirloom tomatoes, that is, aside from a bit a sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Too bad tomato season doesn't last all year long!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've never seen romas that look like baseballs - holy moly - what a treat and a delicious way to prepare them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is what I wait all winter for...tomatoes! Juicy ripe beautiful tomatoes! They look fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Gorgeous tomatoes and I admit- I am getting tired of mozzarella and basil.

    ReplyDelete
  23. That's a lovely and mouth-watering presentation. I never thought of adding a little milk to the feta to create more of a spread like consistency. Good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Those are such beautiful tomatoes. I can almost smell and taste them with my eyes. What a great presentation.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oooh now those tomatoes look delish! A great picture - I'm loving the feta and basil.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm drooling here viewing your awesome pic!! Feta and basil, oh yes bring it on girl!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello, I just surfed in and wanted to comment that those tomatoes, and your presentation, are absolutely gorgeous. We can't get the heirloom totatoes here..sadly.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thats a beautiful presentation.........all stacked up and yummy.

    ReplyDelete
  29. These are absolutely gorgeous, Val! The flavors go well together but they are still simple enough to enjoy those tasty tomatoes!

    ReplyDelete
  30. You take such lovely pictures - that dish looks absolutely fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I just had to come here to read the recipe! Love it! And love your site :-).

    I would like to invite you to share this post (and your other posts :-) ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched in May. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author's site.

    It's called RecipeNewZ (with Z) - http://recipenewz.com

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board :-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. You refer to "chives being blended" but there are no chives in your list of ingredients. About how many chives or cups would you use. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for pointing that out Tammy. There are no chives in the recipe.

      Delete
  33. I always loved this photo since the first time I saw it! A very beautiful presentation!

    ReplyDelete

Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

This blog uses comment moderation therefore SPAMMERS, SELF-PROMOTERS and ADVERTISERS will be deleted.