Tomato Rice Gratin: Starring Kumato

I’m peculiar when it comes to tomatoes. I have an aversion to squishy ones. When I buy them fresh I like for them to be firm, so I’ve taken a particular liking to the cherub tomatoes. They go well in a salad or topped on toast with goat cheese.

At my favorite market they sell a container of mixed miniature tomatoes that are simply beautiful. These little beauties were translucent yellow, cherry red and purplish brown. The yellow ones looked like orbs that should be suspended in a mobile with beautiful lights surrounding them. And the purplish ones looked like exotic berries. When I returned home to prepare a salad, I succumbed to curiosity and popped one of the purplish ones into my mouth–whole, fresh, just like that–without any seasoning. (I never do that.) Well, surprise, surprise! It was the best tomato I had ever tasted. It was sweet and crisp. I was sold; I couldn’t get enough of those–too bad I couldn’t purchase a one pound bag of just them.

One of the ways I like to prepare a quick meal or snack is to cut up these mini tomatoes with some scallions or Easter radishes, mix them with a bit of balsamic vinegar, and let them set for a bit. I toast some really good bread and then smear it with goat cheese and top it with the tomato salad.

A couple of weeks ago I happened upon another peculiar tomato. It looked very much like the miniature purplish brown ones I had encountered before; however, these were much larger. They were ordinary sized tomatoes, and their coloring was gorgeous. A bit of dark green that blended into a deep brown. These, too, were sold in plastic containers. The variety is the Kumato. (The Kumato even has its own web site.) According to Wikipedia, they were developed in Spain and are a much sweeter tomato due to their higher fructose content. An interesting tid-bit is that not just anybody can purchase seeds to grow these prestigious tomatoes. They are only available to certain ‘club’ members. (Very posh-posh, indeed.) One must needs be invited to join the club of growers, and there are stipulations and regulations on how one can grow and cultivate them. Who would have thought…

Anyway, yes, they are delightful. Just by themselves or cooked. I am now a fan. The other day I came across a recipe on epicurious.com for Zucchini Rice Gratin.

Since I didn’t have any zucchini on hand, I adapted it to become Tomato Rice Gratin. I used the Kumato tomatoes along with the remaining minis that I had.

The dish turned out to be delicious and filling.

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