Annette’s tomatoes and peaches with honey vinegar and burrata curds
Prep 30 mins
Cook 5 mins (plus setting, marinating)
“While Tasmania seems like an odd place to be growing tomatoes, it’s here that I’ve had some of the best tomatoes of my life,” says Analiese Gregory. “One of my friends put me onto a grower in the north, Annette, who hosts a once-a-year tomato festival. She sends the tomatoes out, all at exactly the same stage of ripeness, in colour-coded boxes, and grows more than 100 varieties including reisetomate and the best purple tomatillos I’ve ever had. It’s made me understand the beauty of the tomato salad.”
800g mixed heirloom tomatoes
1 tsp sea salt
80 ml (1/3 cup) honey vinegar
2 ripe peaches (optional)
80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
1 bunch fresh herbs of your choice (basil, mint, lemon verbena, whatever you like)
2 litres unhomogenised milk
½ tsp citric acid dissolved in 60 ml (¼ cup) water
7.5 ml rennet mixed into 60 ml (¼ cup) water
150g crème fraiche
1. For the burrata curds, pour the milk into a stainless-steel saucepan, add the citric acid dissolved in water and stir gently. Cook over a low heat, stirring very slowly, until the temperature comes up to 28°C. Add the rennet mixed with water and stir for another 10 seconds. Remove from the heat, cover and let it set for 15 minutes. Test the curds for a clean break by making a vertical cut into them with a palette knife, then lifting them up to see how clean the cut is. Cut into 5.cm squares. Put back on the heat and slowly agitate with your hand, breaking up any large pieces until they reach 40°C. If you prefer the curds slightly drier, you can cook them out to 48°C instead. Take them off the heat and let cool. Once cool, drain the curds in a colander for 1 hour, then fold them with the crème fraîche and some salt to taste. Be very gentle so as not to overwork and whip the cream – it should look something like the inside of a ball of burrata. Keep in the fridge until needed.
2. Wash, core and slice the tomatoes, then put them in a bowl and season with the salt and honey vinegar. Let sit for 20 minutes. If using, remove the peach flesh from their kernels and cut into wedges, adding them and the olive oil to the bowl.
3. Spoon the cheese curds into a flat-bottomed bowl or onto a plate, then build the salad on top. Pour over some of the tomato juices and scatter with herbs.
This is an edited extract from How Wild Things Are by Analiese Gregory, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45. Available in stores nationally. Photography ©Adam Gibson.