08 July 2007

Black Krim Tomato

The Black Krim tomato won't win any beauty contests, but it is delicious. This particular tomato is the first to come off of my Black Krim plant. It suffers from two afflictions that can plague heirloom varieties: growth cracks and green shoulders. The former has to do with odd watering patterns (it's been consistent, I promise), and the latter is caused by really hot temperatures (nothing I can do about that). It's a little difficult to tell, but the lower half of the fruit is a deep purple/chocolate brown color. If this tomato showed up on a grocery store display, nobody would touch it. People would alert the produce manager and young children would cry.

Here's what it looks like on the inside. Really dark in places. The tomato has a deep, meaty, savory flavor, and it only takes a touch of salt to help enhance it. I've got a lot of other developing fruit on that vine, and I'm anxious to try some more.

So what to do with such a beast? Why not incorporate it into an experiment?

I decided to expand upon the concept of frisée aux lardons. This time I boosted the amount of greens, used a strip of bacon, and sliced up half of a thick rare-roasted ribeye per salad. Add to that chunks of the Black Krim, thin slices of baguette toasted in bacon grease, and of course a couple of poached eggs.

The final product looks something like a garbage plate, but it was really quite good. For future improvements, I would have used a spring mix rather than frisée for the greens. It's good but only in small quantities. A huge plate of it is like trying to force down a bunch of tree trimmings. The steak and touch of bacon made for a nice change from the crispy pork belly, and the tomatoes were a nice addition. I would highly recommend such croutons in the future.

The wine selected for the evening was the 2002 St. Francis Claret. 66% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Zinfandel. Does it still count as a claret if it doesn't use the Bordeaux grapes? In any event, it did have some interesting characteristics, namely a hint of green tobacco that I wasn't expecting from California. The flavor was full and round with lots of blackberries and blueberries. I enjoyed the wine but thought that the Zinfandel was, even in small amounts, powerful enough to knock out some of the more delicate flavors of the other grapes.


fredric koeppel said...

Que pasa? Merlot and cabernet sauvignon are the principle bordeaux grapes. It's only the 4 percent zinfandel that's un-claret-like here.
yes, frisee has to be used carefully, just a little in a mixed salad. The combination of steak, bacon, poached egg and tomato sounds fabulous, v. decadent.

Benito said...

With the claret comment, it was mostly about the Zin. To be fair, it's in small quantities, but has a powerful effect on the wine. I see other clarets that include Syrah and other non-Bordeaux reds. At what point do you stop comparing it to Bordeaux and just start calling it a red blend? I love the creativity, but when I look for a claret I'm typically wanting the 5 red Bordeaux grapes.

It's all kind of a moot point, as Claret is now a protected name.

The salad was delicious (along with the light Dijon vinaigrette I made and used sparingly), but it was still a lighter and more summer-appropriate meal than a traditional steak, salad, baked potato combination.

fredric koeppel said...

"Claret" as a protected name is ridiculous and so is "hock." They're simply traditional terms for two wines that the British have used for centuries. In fact, when they started called Bordeaux wines "claret," the wines were much lighter than they became in the 19th century. And "hock" is what the British used for the German wine "Hockenheimer."
I mean, who do these people think they're protecting?

on site said...

This is the first year I have grown Krims. They are the most rewarding tomato ever. And, they are slightly frost resistant for all those in the northern climates. In the spring, when a +1 degree C killed off my ordinary tomato seedlings out there hardening off, the Krims were fine.

On top of all of this, they have ripened last, and so, in late September, when everything is over, I'm just starting to eat my beautiful, sweet, velvety Krims.

Your salad looks great; any light red would do.