Last week, our veg box contained this little punnet of deliciousness - a selection of 8 interesting and unusual kinds of tomatoes.
I knew that tomatoes that pretty deserved some really kick-arse mozzarella. I meandered up to the cheese shop at lunch time and came away with a luscious ball of Laverstoke Park buffalo mozzarella. I think it is brilliant that Jody Scheckter has decided to use his retirement to develop organic farming in Britain. And even more brilliant that it means I can get (for the small sum of an arm and a leg) absolutely fresh, gorgeous British buffalo mozzarella.
But woman can't live on mozzarella alone. Especially when married to a man who really prefers warm meals at dinner time. So what to put on the other side of the plate? I decided to pull out a recipe that I pulled out of a Delicious magazine about 18 months ago, but never made - Soy Caramel Roasties.
I thought the unorthodox pairing of very Asian-flavoured hot vegetables and very European salad would work well. My theory was that you get butternut and aubergine in Europe, and you get fresh cheeses and tomato salads in Asia, so there was something of a common language for the flavours. I also thought that the dribble of balsamic that I was putting on the mozzarella would have the right sort of dark caramel flavours to tie the plate together. I was right. It was a brilliant combination!
I didn't have parsnips or carrots, so I just used butternut, sweet potato and aubergine. I also reduced the amount of sugar used to 2 heaped tablespoons, and added a sliced hot green chilli to the sauce. I left out the lime juice because I didn't want that sharpness to compete with the acid of the tomatoes or balsamic.
Unfortunately the tomatoes were a little disappointing. They didn't have the amount of tomato-y flavour I was hoping for, and there wasn't much variation in the flavour between the types. I think if they had been warm from the sun it would have been better. But from every other angle this meal worked really, really well. The creamy, curdy, stretchy cheese cut through the salty, sweet, spicy soy and had enough flavour of its own to stand up to the powerful Asian flavours. The sweetness of the roasted veg cuddled up to the fresh, juicy, slightly acid tomatoes. The various reds, oranges and golds all complemented each other. A very successful fusion.