Presentation does make a difference – not only in terms of visual appeal, but also in taste. Heirloom Tomato Tartare takes the ingredients of a simple tomato and basil salad, and, with some dicing and stacking, results in a colorful and refined appetizer. Heirloom tomatoes of various colors are diced and combined with finely chopped kalamata olives and shallots. The confetti of tiny morsels allows for satisfying mouthfuls bursting with sweet tomato, briny olive and sharp shallot. Try it – you’ll like it.
In this recipe I have topped the tartare with a spoonful of creamy burrata and basil. If you don’t want to splurge on burrata, try a small wedge of buffalo mozzarella. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with Balsamic Syrup. While the ingredients are the same as you will find in a Caprese Salad, the presentation is refreshingly different.
Heirloom Tomato Tartare with Balsamic Syrup
6 medium-large heirloom tomatoes, ripe but firm (choose different tomatoes for color variation)
10 Kalamata olives, pitted, diced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 buffalo mozzarella or burrata
Fresh basil leaves
Balsamic Syrup (see below)
Cut tomatoes in half. Remove and discard seeds, juice and ribs if mealy. Cut in 1/4″ dice. Combine diced tomatoes, olives and shallot in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper.
Arrange 1/2 cup of tomatoes in a stacked circle in center of a serving plate. Cut mozzarella in half and divide each half into 3 wedges. Gently place wedge on top of tomatoes. If using burrata, carefully pull apart a small portion of the cheese, without too much liquid, and arrange on top of tomatoes.
Drizzle tomatoes and cheese with olive oil. Garnish with a basil leaf. Serve with balsamic syrup either drizzled on the plate around the tomatoes, or in a small cup to the side.
Bring one cup every-day quality balsamic syrup to a boil (don’t use the fancy one). Simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.