When the mercury in the thermometer starts to creep its way upwards, to me, there is nothing that comes to mind faster than the legendary trio of juicy tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. As the week is finally winding down, Bostonians were suddenly sun-drenched by surprisingly warm weather today and I found my self flip-flopping over to Stop and Shop to get this famed combination. Although, when I got to the store, I happened to stumble upon a new kind of tomato; the kumato. With my curiosity getting the best of me, I couldn't help but wonder what these tomatoes were all about and I knew that I had to try them. They claimed to be specially and naturally grown and promised to be exceptionally sweet. I'll be honest, my instincts and years of tomato eating were calling these dark and firm little tomatoes bluff.
Back in my Small Boston Kitchen, I couldn't help but tear open the package and bite into one. They certainly are a lot firmer than their bright red cousins, but sure enough, they actually were very sweet. They had that "fresh tomato taste", but with an ever so slightly tougher exterior. Still thirsting for more knowledge on these little guys, I did some research and found that apparently, they've been growing kumatos in Europe for years and then the Canadians got in on the fun and then shipped them down to us in the States. They are supposedly higher in cancer-fighting lycopene than the average tomato that we are used to. Another interesting fact, kumatos ripen from the inside out, allowing the color to change from a dark brown and maturing into a golden-green color. There is something about the watering frequency that does this to the tomatoes. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.
I would recommend these little jems for use on sandwiches because they maintain their shape, even after you bite into them. I think they would also be fantastic in salads. I'm not sure how well they'd fare in a sauce, I fear they might be a little too firm for that but maybe you could blanch them and peel their skins and cook them down. Sounds like a good project for another day.
Kumato, Basil and Mozzarella Sandwich
- 1 crusty bread roll
- 2 fresh kumatos, sliced
- A couple thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
- A couple leaves of fresh basil
- A large handful of arugula
- A couple of splashes balsamic vinegar
Cut the roll lengthwise and scoop out the doughy center with your hands. Divide the slices of mozzarella between the two pieces of bread and toast until the cheese just melts and the bread gets a little crusty on the outside. While the bread is toasting, add a couple of splashes of balsamic vinegar to the arugula and toss with your hands. When the bread is toasted, remove it from the oven and add the arugula to one side, layer the kumatos on top and then lay the fresh basil over the kumatos. Serve immediately.