|Caprese Burgers with Pickled Tomatoes|
What better way to celebrate my absolutely favourite fruit than with a Tomato Festival. When I mentioned to my worldly travellers where I was headed they had visions of La Tomatina in Spain . Although it is on my bucket list, this was a celebration of a different colour. And celebrate we did with an array of delicious and innovative little bites topped off with the piece de resistance freshly baked Margherita pizza from a wood fire oven for the first annual Tomato Festival at Sunshine Farm.
|Pickled Tomatoes from Sunshine Farms (recipe from Sher below)|
In recent years, heirloom tomatoes have caught the fancy of an increasing number of gardeners and local growers making them more widely available. These are the tomatoes that people have fallen in love with, and have deemed worthy of keeping from plants that have been grown year after year and handed down from gardener to gardener. At the farm, owner Jon showed us how to collect the seeds from these prized tomatoes. Heirloom tomato seeds, like your grandmother’s china, are viewed as precious family treasures that have been passed from generation to generation. For an heirloom tomato to qualify for heirloom status it has to have been around for at least 50 years. Newer genetic variations are classified as hybrids.
|Mark Pollan Tomato; Baby Red Pear; Oaxacan; Speckled Roman|
|Heirloom Tomato Salsa; Tomato Jam; Sparkling Tomato Water; an array of small bites|
|Caprese Tomato Sticks; Bernard Callebaut Coated Tomatoes; Tomato Spice Cake|
|Woodfire Oven Baked Marguerita Pizza|
|Farm Tour Sunshine Farms|
So what to do with these gems? My favourite bounty of the summer. My go to recipe is inevitably a Caprese salad which is an Italian dish that shows up often in my kitchen. It is prepared with ripe tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and usually balsamic vinegar. In true More Than Burnt Toast fashion the recipe below is my interpretation of a Caprese Burger using the classic elements of the salad, but with a twist.
For a twist on the traditional Caprese ingredients, this burger is made with pickled tomatoes, something new on my radar found on restaurant menus and in home kitchens and introduced to me at the farm. Below you will find a recipe from Sher of Sunshine Farms for pickled tomatoes which made a tasty addition to these simple burgers. Make sure the tomatoes are firm; otherwise, they will fall apart when pickled. With the addition of a one-minute basil mayonnaise, some freshly plucked local greens and some slightly warmed buffalo mozzarella these burgers will have you savouring every last moment of the last days of summer. Catch those tomatoes while you can!
**Caprese Burger with Pickled Tomatoes and Basil Mayonnaise**
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3-5 tablespoons water
salt and pepper, olive oil
16 ounces fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
6-7 pickled tomatoes (recipe below)
4 ciabatta rolls
Basil One Minute Mayonnaise (recipe below)
Lettuce for garnish
In a medium bowl lightly knead the sirloin with water and balsamic vinegar. Loosely shape into 4 patties about 3/4-inch thick. Season generously with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate lined with plastic wrap. Make a small indentation in the centre of each patty with your thumb to ensure even cooking because the burger swells during the cooking process. Brush the sides of the buns with olive oil.
Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, cook the hamburger for about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on your taste. Top with a few slices of the buffalo mozzarella during the last few minutes of cooking to melt the cheese slightly.
Cut the ciabatta rolls in half and coat each side with the basil mayonnaise (recipe below). Place the patties on the rolls and top with the pickled tomatoes and lettuce. Serve immediately.
from Sher at Sunshine Farms
Enough tomatoes to fill about 4 sterilised pint jars. (Use small crisp tomatoes.The 'grape' varieties are perfect. Wash them and remove the stems, but do not peel them. Poke about four holes in each one. I ran a skewer all the way through 2 or 3 times).
1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4-8 garlic cloves
Pinch of coriander
Boil all ingredients together (except tomatoes) for 3 or 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature.Very important to let it cool. If it is too hot when you add it to the tomatoes, they will start to peel, and be mushy.
Pour the cooled brine onto the tomatoes, and screw on the lid.
These are fresh pickles which do not need any cooking or processing. Give them at least 24 hours to soak up the brine. The recipe says they will last several months. Mine will be eaten long before that!
Really easy, and very easy to make larger batches.
Basil One Minute Mayonnaise
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 large basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup olive oil or another 1/2 cup of canola
In a one-quart, wide-mouth mason jar (or any other tall jar with a wide opening), place the mayonnaise ingredients in the order listed. Set the speed to high (I use the purée setting), place the immersion blender over the egg, and push the ON button. When you start to see streaks of mayonnaise in the bottom of the jar, slowly start moving the blender upwards, until all of the ingredients have turned to mayonnaise. (This will take less than 1 minute.) Put the cap on the jar, and refrigerate until ready to use.
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