Now that the summer heat has turned its thermostat to “on”, our taste buds switch their style to “tomatoes”.
In my debut recipe for The Florentine, I’ve taken the pick of the summer’s fruits—melon and tomatoes of all shades—and pepped them up with the sourness of cream cheese, the pungency of wasabi paste and the nuttiness of mixed seeds. The finishing touch? Pane carasau from Sardinia, a thin and crispy flatbread, broken up into pieces for a sort of chips and guacamole style dish. It’s a simple starter that will impress guests with its vibrancy.
Ph. Luca Rosati
Tomatoes, melon, cream cheese, wasabi, seeds and pane carasau
250 g soft cream cheese / 1 tbsp wasabi paste / 10 g chives / 10 g calamint / 10 g basil / 1 kg mixed “datterini” tomatoes (red, green, orange and yellow) / half a melon / 1 tbsp Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil / 1 tbsp raspberry vinegar / mustard seeds / mixed seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower, poppy + sesame), toasted / 10 walnuts, halved / salt and black pepper / pane carasau
Mix the cream cheese in a bowl with the wasabi, chives and calamint. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to chill.
Remove the skin from the melon and cut into cubes.
Cut the tomatoes into wedges or slice them. Dress with the extra-virgin olive oil, raspberry vinegar and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, spread a thin layer of the cream cheese on serving plates. Arrange different coloured tomatoes on top as well as the melon, the toasted seeds, mustard seeds and basil.
Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with the pane carasau.
Antony Petti of the Oltrarno’s Pint of View beer-centric restaurant recommends a Blanche-style Bianca from Brùton brewery, in Lucca. The coriander, citrus and flowers on the nose pair perfectly with the freshness of the summer fruits, while the spices complement the wasabi.