Once the tomatoes travelled from the New World to Europe, it first decorated the botanical gardens of kings. That until the Italian botanist, Pietro Andrea Mattioli studied the aphrodisiac effect of the tomato.
Turning point for the tomato
The Lycopersicon esculentum, native to Central America, was thought by Europeans to be poisonous. Only when Mattioli was convinced of his theory did the consumption of tomatoes spread: first in love potions. - Mattioli was from 1564-68 the personal physician of Emperor Maximilian II.- Especially in southern Italy, the belief in the positive effects of the pomo d'oro became widely accepted. People began to eat tomatoes on a regular basis. People ate them raw, fried in oil or cooked in soups. A little help in matters of the heart could not hurt. And it is no coincidence that, in many parts of Austria, the tomato is called a Paradeiser, which literally translates as paradise or love apple.
Perfect as starter, side or main course
Caramelised tomatoes are great as a starter, and are a perfect accompaniment to dark meat dishes or braised fish. By caramelising the tomatoes, an even sweeter note is added to the flavour of the tomatoes. Basil gives dishes a fresh and spicy touch. When it comes to main courses during summer, caramelised tomatoes harmonise very well with toasted white bread and quartirolo lombardo or cacioricotta (ricotta di pecora pugliese), which are both very similar in taste to Greek feta.
- 20 tomatoes, ripe, dates or cherry
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 handful basil leaves, fresh
- 1 tsp sugar
- Bring water to the boil and blanch the tomatoes for about 1 minute. Rinse with cold water (otherwise you will burn your fingers!) and peel the tomatoes.
- Melt the butter in a wide pan, add the tomatoes and half of the basil. Season to taste with salt and sugar.
- Fry over a high heat for a few minutes, turning the tomatoes over and over again so that they are covered with the melting sugar. Serve hot, topped with fresh basil leaves.
For a sweet and sour note, you can also deglaze the caramelized tomatoes with a few spoons of balsamic vinegar. Try for yourself which version you like best! My favourite is the one described above.
This dish is ideal as a side dish for 4 people or as a summer main course with toasted white bread and a Quartirolo Lombardo or a Cacioricotta (ricotta di pecora pugliese) for 1 person.