Over the weekend I cooked one of my favorite summer recipes, Laurent Gras's Tomate Antiboise. It's a simple and satisfying dish that's perfect for this time of year when tomatoes are coming into peak season. To make it you scoop out the insides of four vine-ripened tomatoes and fill them with a delicious rice salad made with mustard vinaigrette, tuna, green olives and fresh parsley. After I'd hollowed out the tomatoes I was left wondering what to do with the leftover tomato pulp when I remembered another fantastic summer recipe from My Provence. I followed the instructions from chef Gras's Tomato Consommé with Basil and Lemongrass recipe to make a small batch of tomato water...
Remove the core of the tomatoes. In a blender or food processor, combine the cored tomatoes with the sea salt and pulse to produce a coarse purée. Don’t over blend the pulp or the end result will be cloudy. Add the basil and process for a few seconds more to combine. Season with Tabasco and process again. Wet 2 or 3 large coffee filters with water so they are damp. Arrange the filters in a large mesh sieve or pasta strainer, overlapping them to cover the whole surface. Place the lemongrass in a mixing bowl and set the strainer on top of the bowl. Pour the tomato mixture into the filters. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the juices have completely run through into the bowl, which usually takes about 3 hours. The tomatoes can also drain in the refrigerator overnight.
After an overnight in the fridge I had a small bowl of tomato water that I needed to figure out how to use. A quick web search turned up some fantastic ideas, a few of which I've included here:
- The Bon Appetit blog did a round up of recipes in How to Use Tomato Water, including this Tomato Risotto
- Georgia Pellegrini's absolutely gorgeous Tomato Bread Salad on The Pioneer Woman
- Ken Oringer, the chef of Clio in Boston, created this richly flavored Tomato Water Martini
- Melissa Clark at The New York Times wrote up a great looking recipe for Seared Blackfish With Tomato Water, Herbs and Olives. She also published a companion blog post with a handy suggestion for what to do with the leftover tomato solids after you've finished straining your tomatoes in Tomato Water: What to Do With the Rest of the Tomatoes.
In the end I chose to make a tomato martini and use the remainder as a base for a sauce for grilled salmon. If you're thinking of trying out any of these great tomato water recipes, now's the time to start experimenting!