Get a Taste of Tomatoes Before Summer Ends!
In summer, we eat tomatoes! These juicy fruits hit their peak in Ontario from mid-to-late summer, meaning they’re currently at their most delicious and firm. Coming in a variety of shapes and colours with flavour profiles ranging from tangy to sweet, there’s no shortage of ways to serve them.
Tomatoes can sometimes get a bad rep as flavourless, but trust us — it’s a myth. Many tomatoes transported from long distances are harvested too early and artificially ripened via artificial ethylene gas spray before being sold. This can result in a bland taste from imported tomatoes, but the fix is easy: buy local!
O&B chefs are all about creating seasonally inspired plates with locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a full punch of flavour in each bite. If you haven’t taken advantage of what is arguably summer’s tastiest bounty, it’s not too late. Try one (or all) of these tomato-based dishes, thoughtfully made by the pros, to experience tomatoes the way nature intended.
Please note that menu items listed below are subject to change.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
A unique Mediterranean spin on the heirloom tomato salad, Babel’s version contains Macedonian feta and fresh herbs sourced locally from Tamarack Farms. It’s fresh and just a tad crunchy, balanced by the softness of the cheese. The tomatoes offer both sweet and sour flavours, complemented by the feta’s slight saltiness and the herbal accents.
Based on Chef John Horne’s iconic ratatouille, which has been on the menu since opening day, Maison Selby’s tomate farcie is a popular vegetarian dish. The base is a classic ratatouille comprised of tomatoes, zucchini, red peppers and eggplant that’s been braised for hours. A show-stopping vine-ripened tomato sits on top, stuffed with locally grown quinoa salad, finished off with a walnut and tomato vinaigrette. If you’re feeling extra fancy, this one’s for you.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
You’ll find all five flavour profiles in this creative appetizer: salty soy sauce, sweet sesame snaps, sour rice vinegar, bitter radishes and umami soy-soaked tomato. Local tomatoes are a perfect sponge for the spicy soy sauce — even better than the cucumbers from its predecessor, R&D’s Chinese Spicy Cucumber Salad. There are just as many textures at play, too: crisp red onions and radishes, crunchy sesame snaps and of course the delicate, succulent tomatoes that take centre stage. It’s everything you could want in one bite.
The Rabbit Hole
Stone Pier Mackerel
The Rabbit Hole pairs crispy-skinned mackerel with gentleman’s relish and heirloom tomatoes that are seasoned with dill vinaigrette, sea salt and black pepper. If you assume tomatoes take a backseat in this dish, think again. They’re essential for cutting through the mackerel’s strong flavour, adding juicy pops of sweet and sour. Born of Executive Chef Ryan Lister’s memories of eating mackerel in his hometown of Weymouth, England, this plate will transport you to the breezy British seaside in no time.
Heirloom Tomato Caprese
Inspired by summer in Italy, this brand new dish is a showcase for tomatoes lovingly grown by Chef Navinder Saini’s friend Nancy at Tamarack Farms and Paul at Forty4 Farms in Holland Landing, Ontario. Chef wanted to do “the absolute minimum” to the juicy heirloom tomatoes, letting them speak for themselves with a bit of help from aged artisanal balsamic, local basil, pickled radicchio and Italian olive oil. Think of it as a plate of pure sunshine.