Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Salad of Haricots Verts, Tomato Tartare & Chive Oil

Do you know how excited I am to have found a recipe that makes March tomatoes edible?! DO YOU?! I knew from the title that this dish was my going to be my thing. I am a huge tomato fan. Just love em. But I cannot stand a bad one. I won't buy anything but cherry tomatoes at the grocery store, waiting for summer to buy heirlooms and Roma tomatoes at the farmer's market. My opinion is that people who say they don't like tomatoes just haven't had a ripe one. OR they haven't had Tomato Confit. Guys- you're in for a treat.

This here is the already prepared Tomato Conft ready to be chopped into tomato tartare which you mix with some chives, shallots, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.

The other key component is the green beans (or Haricots Verts) in a creamy red wine vinegar sauce. Tasty indeed. You whip some heavy cream over an ice bowl until slightly thickened and then add the vinegar, salt & pepper.


Ok, so I don't have many pictures of the prep involved but lemme tell you this: making the chive oil in the blender and tomato powder in the microwave (for 50 minutes) at the same time, made me think I was going to blow the house up. The cookbook doesn't warn you that you're pretty guaranteed to light the parchment paper on fire and have to anxiously watch and wait for it to die down. I watched the tomato pulp cook in the microwave for a full 15 minutes STRAIGHT before doing something else, so afraid I was of the occasional flame getting out of control.

Admiring my handy-work.

But the tomato powder and the chive oil were both well worth the effort. I maybe wouldn't recommend doing them both at the same time.

A tomato skeptic licks his plate clean.

Do I even have to tell you this was a success?? I too would have licked my plate clean, but this was my second serving (perk of cooking a meal meant for 6 for 2 people!!) and I was out of tomato tartare and hot damn, I love tomato tartare.

Salad of Haricots Verts, Tomato Tartare & Chive Oil
Adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook
The tomato confit can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for 5 days. The Chive oil can also be stored in the fridge for several days.

  • Tomato Tartare (recipe follows)
  • Chive Oil (recipe follows)
  • 6oz Green Beans (or Haricots Verts)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Frisee lettuce
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Tomato Powder (recipe follows)

When ready to assemble:
Blanch the green beans in boiling water for a few minutes but making sure they retain their snap. In a bowl set over an ice bath, whip the heavy cream until slightly thickened. Slowly mix in the vinegar and add salt & pepper to taste. Add some of the cream mixture to the green beans and coat evenly. Add more cream if necessary. Place a 2.5" mold on your serving plate and pipe a circle of chive oil around the inside. Add about 4 tsp of tomato tartare on top of the oil, using the back of a spoon to even out the mixture in the ring mold. Remove the mold. Carefully place about 1/4 cup of greens beans on top of the tomato tartare. Dress the frisee with some olive oil, salt & pepper. Grab a small bunch of frisee and twirl it in your palm to create a bundle. Place the frisee bundle on top of the green beans. Carefully spoon a line of tomato powder on the plate and sprinkle the top of the salad with some more tomato powder.

Tomato Tartare

  • 1/2 cup Tomato Confit (recipe follows)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp minced chives
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Finely chop the tomato confit and mix in the shallots, chives and vinegar. Refrigerate until ready to plate.

Tomato Confit
For 1/2 cup tomato confit you need about 6 tomatoes. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days
  • Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Thyme sprigs
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Start by peeling the tomatoes: bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut a shallow X into the bottom of each tomato. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water until the skins start to peel back. Remove with a skimmer and place in an ice bath. Peel tomatoes completely. Cut into quarters by cutting through the stem. Remove the pulp (but reserve for tomato powder) leaving you with a sort of petal.

Place a silpat on a sturdy baking sheet. Lightly drizzle some olive oil over the silpat and sprinkle on some salt & pepper. Lay out the tomato petals, with the inside of the tomato facing down, and drizzle some more olive oil over top, finishing off with some more salt & pepper and a sprig of thyme on each petal. Bake in oven for about 2 hours or until the tomatoes are almost dried out but still retain some of their juice. Remove the thyme and scrap everything else into a Tupperware to store in the fridge.

Chive Oil
Should be stored in the fridge
  • 1 cup of chives (or one standard packet)
  • 1 cup canola oil
Chop the chives into 1 inch pieces. Place the chives in a fine mesh strainer and run under hot water for 2 minutes to remove any taste of chlorophyll. Place half of the chives into a blender and barely cover with canola oil. Turn the blender to medium for 1 minute then on high for 2 minutes. Add half of the remaining chives and blend on high for another 2 minutes, scrapping down if necessary. Add remaining chives and blend on high for 2 more minutes. Strain the mixture into a container and let sit in the fridge over night to intensify the color.

The following day, drap some doubled-over cheesecloth over a small bowl and secure the cheesecloth to the base of the bowl with a rubber band. Pour the oil over the cheesecloth and let it sit out until the oil strains through. Store the oil in a squeeze bottle and discard the rest.

Tomato Powder
Store in a airtight container

  • Tomato pulp (leftover from making tomato confit)
Finely chop the tomato pulp. I mean, really chop it as finely as possible. Place the pulp in a kitchen towel and wring out as much liquid as possible. Again, really try to wring out as much liquid as you can muster. Scatter the pulp onto some parchment paper, evenly spreading it around. Place the whole thing in your microwave and cook on LOW for 30-50 minutes. The time will vary based on how much liquid is in your tomatoes.

Be warned: most people who have attempted this have ended up with burnt/ flaming parchment paper. Although my parchment paper did flame, it never caught on fire. I got the occasional flare up (accompanied by a frightening electric fire sound) which freaked the be-jesus out of me, but I kept my feet planted in front of the microwave and my eyes zeroed in on the paper for about 10 straight minutes to make sure nothing actually caught on fire. The flame-ups progressively died down and for the last 20 minutes there weren't any at all. So my advice to you: know your microwave. If you can't or don't know how to set your machine to LOW, I would not attempt this preparation. Otherwise, try it out but keep a watchful eye (and ear) for the first 10-20 minutes.

Once the tomato pulp is completely dried out, powder it in a spice grinder. Store in an airtight container.

1 comment: