Dried Tomatoes à la Aristippos
Tomatoes at the Borough Market, London / oct.2010 Many different types of tomatoes at the Viktualien Market, Munich / jul.2009
Many things in life are like nature - complex in its simplicity and simple in its complexity. Ever thought of the simplicity one perceives when looking at some roses in a garden and poppies in a field? They look so simple – Simply beautiful! The very flowers are the result of complex biological developments, the metamorphosis of seeds acting and reacting to soil, temperature, water and air. Ever thought of the blood in your veins? As soon as your skin receives a small cut, the simplest thing happens: blood flows. Just as it is simple that blood pours out, it is complex that it flows at all.
The naked and simple eye is seldom able to understand complexities, but understanding these in nature is not of existential importance. This is usually the responsibility and joy of scientists. It is however our duty to pay acknowledgment to things beyond our simple perceptions. And it is up to every individual to use at least the one small chamber available to each wisely. The mouth, our palate gives us perhaps the best personal possibility to assimilate complexity, no matter how pure, manipulated or mistreated the state of any fruit might be.
How complex can simplicity be? The following dehydration recipe might let you experience the answer.
- five (or even ten) ripe tomatoes
- four or five mid-size sage leaves (fresh)
- mint leaves from one twig (fresh)
- one tablespoon of brewed coffee or espresso (I prefer espresso)
- 50 ml olive oil
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
Cut the tomatoes in quarters and place them on a tray like small ships. Mix/shake all remaining ingredients very well and pour the mixture over the tomatoes. Leave them in the oven for three hours at 100°. Once dried, these tomatoes ought to give you a somewhat simplicity/complexity experience. But feel free to take it one step further by dehydrating a few of the tomato quarters without olive oil, thus tasting two simple complexities in the end.
A tomato – from the Solanum lycopersicum linnaeus plant - comes and gets eaten as simple as nature is able to give fruits, and like many others, its origin is South America. There might be well over 8,000 varieties, including Abraham Licoln, Black Krim, Floridity, Vanessa, Plum, Cherry, Campari, Snowberry, Sweet Million, Cedrico, Tigerella, Shirley, Giant Delicious, Garden Pearl, Red Alert… I have been visiting several food markets throughout Europe, photographing various of the ingredients I use when composing with coffee, and found a few of them in the Borough Market in London, Viktualien Markt in Munich, Kollwitzmarkt in Berlin or Naschmarkt in Vienna.
The idea to dry tomatoes on my own was inspired by seeing how simple Raymond Blanc does it. Now I know, how dried tomatoes could taste.
Dried Tomatoes / all photos: sila blume