I simply love tomatoes! They are a truly fantastic product with so many variations in kind, colour, size and taste - it’s simply amazing!
In one of my first performances as chef, quite a few years ago, I organized a vegetable tasting session for people with food allergies. A lady came up to me, looking ever so sad. She sighed, ‘there really is nothing you can do for me as tomato is the only vegetable I can eat. ’’But madam, ’I replied, ‘Don’t you know how many kinds of tomatoes there are? You can literally eat different kinds of tomatoes for weeks in a row, eating something else every day but still the same!’ You should have seen her face! It was then that I realized just how amazing and rewarding my job really is.
Tomato is one of the culinary most versatile products that I know. Officially it’s a fruit, but we all consider it a vegetable. Funny enough, tomato combines perfectly with both vegetables and fruits! This salad, which uses an old fashioned Ox-heart (or coeur de boeuf) proves that!
Carefully cut the top off the ox-heart tomatoes. Save them as you may wish to use them as a lid when serving.
Carefully scoop out the flesh of the ox-heart tomatoes leaving a "shell" for stuffing. You may wish to use a melon scoop. Place the tomato pulp in a bowl.
If needed, chop the other tomatoes into smaller pieces and add them to the ox-heart pulp.
Remove the peel from the blood oranges and cut into smaller wedges then add to the bowl with the juice, It makes a wonderful dressing.
Cut the strawberries in half or quarters and add to the tomato salad.
Carefully mix the salad, add some salt and pepper to taste then stuff each ox-heart tomato with the salad filling. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and drizzle with beautiful avocado oil. Serve immediately!
Tips from the author
Choose enough tomatoes, oranges and strawberries to be able to stuff the right number of ox-heart tomatoes needed.
Avoid keeping a tomato in the fridge! It loses taste and dries out. The best way to keep a tomato is in a cool place (no colder than 12°C / 53F). It will keep for quite a long time!
Peel the blood oranges as follows: using a sharp knife, cut a small slice from both bottom and top, thus making sure the blood orange can stand up. Now carefully cut of the peel, slicing down from top to bottom. Cut deep enough to also cut away the white skin.
Always choose the best possible strawberries for any dish.
There are many different types of tomatoes...
A tomato knows many varieties. In my country, The Netherlands, a vegetable specialist named Wim Landwaart has up to 40- 60 different kinds of tomatoes in his store. Whenever I am near the town of Maartensdijk, I stop by his store and by a basket full of tomatoes. I can never choose so end up with many different kinds. Colourful cherry tomatoes or beautiful "coeur de boeuf" tomatoes. We tend to think of round and red fruits when we think of tomatoes, but you know, they can be small or large, round, oval or even long, smooth, ribbed, yellow, orange, green or even in tiger print.
A coeur de boeuf is a very special tomato, big and ribbed and ripens from the inside. The outside can still be green, so you can already eat it! The coeur de boeuf is a firm and fairly large tomato, being less juicy and therefore also excellent for grilling. Cut the coeur de boeuf in slices, crumb it, then fry it in olive oil. A wonderful way to make an easy and veggie burger. Because the coeur de boeuf is a firm tomato, it's excellent for stuffing, which is why I use the coeur the boeuf in this recipe. You may also use a different firm and large tomato.
The smallest tomato in the world is the so called Tomberry, a ‘berry’ like tomato which measures ½ to 1 cm, thus berry size, with a wonderful sweetness. Amazing as decoration for any dish, but if added last minute to say a (warm) pasta dish or paella, the Tomberry improves in taste. Bite the warm tomato and it bursts open, creating a taste explosion in your mouth!