Saturday, May 7, 2011

You say Tomato, I say KUMATO™!

Shopped for tomatoes lately? It seems the variety of tomatoes in the grocery stores these days has gone crazy. Looking for good red tomatoes is so yesterday! Now the produce bins are filled will all kinds of gourmet varieties that come in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes. In addition to the classic orange/red ones there are new varieties in delicate orange, yellow, green and even brown. Even size and shape are now way past just round and range from mini, cherry, grape, oval, heirloom to beefsteak big. And, don’t get me started on the names of these new gourmet varieties – Compari®, ZIMA™, Minzano™, and many others.  So now I buy a “medley” of tomatoes to suit my every cooking need.

Of the many new gourmet options on the market I am most intrigued by the Kumato™ tomato. Its brownish color sets it apart from the bunch and I just had to try it. For those not familiar with the Kumato™, believe it or not, it has been around since the 1970's but not here in the U.S. until just recently. They originate from the shores of the Mediterranean and were grown predominately in Europe and Canada. Now widely distributed in the U.S. they are a great alternative to the classic red and raise the bar when added to an ordinary green salad.
Unlike traditional tomatoes the Kumato™ ripens fully on the plant before harvesting and grows from the inside outwards with its distinctive color changing naturally from dark reddish brown to golden green. The Kumato™ features a firm flesh and contains a high level of fructose giving it a longer shelf life than the typical tomato. It is known for its super sweet flavor and juiciness. Other than color, on almost every level it is just like the typical red variety, and as such, can be used in the same manner, either cooked or raw.  But frankly, I can't imagine cooking these and ruining its most distinctive feature -- its color. I think they are best used in salads or cold dishes or like what I have done here made into a relish to dress a piece of grilled meat or fish.

Kumato™ Tomato, Artichoke, Olives and Herb Relish 

This recipe comes from the SUNSET® Produce website, the largest greenhouse company in North America known for their production of these and other gourmet tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.  This is the first time purchasing Kumato™ tomatoes and after preparing this recipe I will definitely buy them again, and again. The super sweet Kumato™ combined with the salty, briny Castelvantro olives, fresh basil and lemon vinaigrette is wonderfully fresh and lends incredible flavor to mild varieties of fish like the tilapia I am featuring here. This recipe is crazy good!
4-5 Kumato™ tomatoes cut into large chunks
5 canned artichoke hearts (non-marinated), cut into quarters, about 1 cup
8 Castelventrano olives, sliced off the pit
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. finely minced lemon zest
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 T. chopped fresh oregano or basil (I used basil, but either would work well)
1 T. good olive oil

4 5-oz. pieces of fish (swordfish, tuna, mahi mahi or tilapia) 
Lemon pepper seasoning
Wondra brand flour
Oil for sauteing

Gently toss all relish ingredients together and store in refrigerator to keep cold till fish is ready.  Don't store for too long to keep veggies firm and basil stays green. 

Season both sides of fish with the lemon pepper seasoning.  Dust both sides with a little Wondra. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan and add the fish. Cook till pieces begin to brown around the edges.  Flip and finish cooking till flesh is firm to the touch. Plate fish and top with a generous spoonful of the relish. 
Unbelievably good and one of the best ways to add flavor to any mild flavored fish or meat. The relish is also a great side dish on its own.

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