Depending on where you live, great tomatoes are probably coming online right about now. Once you have gorged yourself on an indecent quantity dressed with nothing but olive oil and salt, and the requisite insalata caprese, maybe you’ll be ready to think about manipulating them just a bit more.
One of my favorite games in the kitchen is to ask myself how I can take apart a fruit or vegetable and then get the most out of the flavors and textures of each component. In this case, we use the seeds and gel raw, sear the flesh briefly, and crisp the skin using Heston Blumenthal’s microwave frying method, which is more typically applied to herbs. Be sure not to use a plastic wrap made from PVC for the microwave frying; it breaks down into unpleasant chemicals when exposed to a lot of heat.
Tomatoes taste incredible with nori. I need to explore this flavor combination more. The umami in each seems to reinforce the other in a way that I find really compelling.
Depending on the size of your tomato, this may make quite a bit more than 3 pieces of sushi.
Be sure not to apply the garnish of tomato skin and nori until the very last second, as it doesn’t take long for them to absorb moisture and go soft.
If you haven’t done it before, La Fuji Mama has a good introduction on how to prepare sushi rice.
Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free
Makes 3 pieces
Special equipment: blowtorch (optional)
- 1 heirloom tomato
- 1/3 cup cooked and vinegared sushi rice
- prepared wasabi
- vegetable oil
- 12 strips toasted nori, 1-inch by 1/16-inch
- flaky black sea salt
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cut an X in the skin on the bottom of the tomato.
- Dunk the tomato for 10 seconds in the boiling water. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool briefy. Peel off the skin, trying to keep it in 4 large sections.
- Cover a dinner plate with microwave-safe plastic wrap, tight as a drum. Brush the plastic wrap with vegetable oil. Lay the tomato skin on the plastic wrap, flat, and brush with a bit more oil. Microwave at 50% power until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Cut into 1 inch by 1/16″ strips.
- Cut the tomato into segments about 1 1/4″ wide. Scoop out and reserve the seed pockets (just seeds and gel, no white parts). Lay each tomato segment on your board, outside down, and carefully cut parallel to the board, leaving just a 1/8″ thick piece of flesh. Trim the ends.
- Form the sushi rice into three small, flattened balls. Dab each ball with a tiny amount of wasabi. Place one tomato segment over each ball of rice and brush lightly with oil. Blowtorch for about 5 seconds each, just long enough to darken a small area. Top each piece with about 1/4 teaspoon of the tomato seed gel, a few strips of nori, a few strips of tomato skin and a few grains of the black sea salt. Serve immediately (before the tomato skin and nori begin to soften).