Post by Alison Hein.
We may not be loving the hot, hot weather that much, but the heirloom tomatoes sure are. Homely and humble on the outside, these babies are sweet and juicy on the inside, tasting of warm, summer sunshine and cool, fresh water…
Pick some up at your local farmers’ market. Then try slicing them, coating with panko, and lightly frying the tomatoes to a crisp golden brown. You can stop right here, if you like, for a lovely summer side dish or lunchtime salad topper. Or, keep going. Top your heirlooms with a couple of poached eggs, a light cheese sauce, and garden fresh chives for a sweet, summery breakfast in bed.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons grated gruyère cheese
1 – 2 heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon water
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh chives
Salt and pepper to taste
To make cheese sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add grated cheese and stir until just melted. Set aside and keep warm.
To bread and fry tomatoes, cut tomatoes into 4 ¼-inch slices. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water. Coat tomato slices thoroughly with beaten egg, then roll and coat in panko to fully cover. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy pan and heat over medium heat. Add tomato slices to pan and cook slowly over medium to medium low heat, turning once, until panko is golden brown and tomatoes are heated and soft, about 5 to 6 minutes. (Green tomatoes will take slightly longer to cook than red ones.) Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and keep warm until eggs are cooked.
Eggs should be as fresh as possible for perfect poaching. To poach eggs, fill a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover eggs (3 to 4 inches) and heat until very hot and simmering, but not boiling. Break eggs into individual small dishes. Or you can use an egg poacher. Carefully pour the first egg into the simmering water. Immediately use a wooden spoon to wrap the cooking white around the egg yolk to prevent the white from feathering. Repeat the process with the second egg, and cook for about four minutes, until the white is firm but the yolk is still soft. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain. Trim edges if necessary.
To assemble, stack two fried tomato slices on a plate, place one poached egg on top, top with cheese sauce, and garnish with chopped chives. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.