Friday, August 31, 2007

Tomato and Nectarine Timbales

I write a newsletter every week for my CSA here in New York City (we get amazing biodynamic produce from Hawthorne Valley Farm) and I include recipes from our Gilded Fork website. This week, we were blessed with both amazing heirloom tomatoes and wonderfully ripe nectarines (both fruits are of the "elbow-dripping" variety..)

Here's a great recipe from our Gilded Fork archives which uses both...

Tomato and Nectarine Timbale
(6 servings)

Summer fruits offer a variety of levels of sweetness from ripening sugars. In this dish, we capture two distinct but complementary flavors and textures and wrap them together in a spicy, sweet fruit syrup.

For the nectarine syrup:
2 ½ cups very ripe nectarines (or white peaches), pitted and chopped
1 dried red chili pepper (or ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper (preferably pink peppercorns)

For the timbale:
4 medium-firm, ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced to about ¼” (about 1 ½ cups)
2 cups nectarines, pitted and diced to about ¼”
1 tablespoon chervil leaves, plus additional leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme, chopped, plus additional leaves for garnish
¼ cup dessicated coconut, or unsweetened
1 teaspoon high quality extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for garnish
Sea salt crystals

Place the nectarines (or peaches, if using) in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour the purée through a mesh sieve placed over a medium saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much nectarine liquid as possible. Add the dried red chili pepper or crushed red pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and reduce by about one half. Remove the chili pepper and strain the liquid through a mesh sieve into a clean glass bowl.

Add the honey and lemon juice and mix to combine. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Taste. Adjust the seasonings by adding salt or pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced tomatoes and nectarines, the chervil, thyme, and coconut. Add just enough of the nectarine syrup to flavor the tomato and nectarine mixture, and gently combine. If necessary, add the olive oil to moisten the mixture and gently toss.

Place a 2” (or larger) diameter round mold on a chilled plate. Fill the mold with the nectarine tomato mixture. Carefully remove the mold. Plate each serving before garnishing.

Once each serving is plated, garnish with additional chervil leaves, thyme, and a drizzle of olive oil. Crush sea salt crystals between your fingers and lightly sprinkle each timbale with a small bit of the crushed crystals.

-Chef Mark

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