Cooking time: Under 30 minutes
Jean is passionate about the love apple, as the tomato was once known, and over the years he has grown some 140 varieties. The very first tomatoes to arrive from Peru and Mexico in the 16th century included yellow varieties, hence the Italian name pomodoro - fruit of gold. Happily these age-old tomatoes have made a comeback in recent years. The garden at Belmont includes the heirloom variety King Humbert with egg-shaped fruit, and the Blanche d'Angers, cream-coloured with markings on the sides. Jean sometimes organizes tomato tasting sessions. The foliage, though inedible, is deliciously aromatic; in fact, Nina Ricci recently created a perfume, "Les Belles," based on tomato-leaf essence.
Red tomatoes are certainly the richest in provitamin A, but all varieties are high in vitamin C and minerals, while being low in calories. Red tomatoes exert a sort of primitive fascination. Jean-Luc Hennig describes a traditional Catalan festival at which, for a brief fifteen minutes on the last Wednesday of August, the crowd throws tomatoes in every direction, each person trying to outdo the next, leaving the streets awash in red juice. Far removed from these sanguinary connotations, the "Green Zebra" variety should delight vegetarians with its fine golden stripes and sweet pulp.
Aside from the jelly, this recipe is very easy to make: the disks of tomato, one against the other, are strikingly beautiful. I slice the tomatoes thickly (1.5 cm, or a generous half-inch) and cut various sizes of circles from the slices, using cutters of different diameters.
Using a small metal spatula, I gently place the disks onto the plates, followed by the tomato jelly. I season them with salt and pepper, sprinkle with olive oil and garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro.
Photo : solanaseeds.netfirms.com Rare fruit seeds.
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