Tomato a la Mode in Mexico

Caramelized tomato from Flora Farm

Photo by Kerri Conan

Yes, beneath this mound of just-churned vanilla ice cream is a caramelized tomato. I am responsible for the missing bites but not for inventing such a remarkable dessert. That honor belongs to Guillermo Tellez and his wife Leslie, executive and pastry chefs for the magical restaurant at Flora Farms just outside San Jose del Cabo in Baja California Sur, Mexico. I couldn’t stop thinking about the place or the tomato so I wrote Tellez for the recipe, which he was generous enough to share.

Now, during peak tomato, let’s all make one. Or a dozen. Tellez says to start with large ripe specimens—any kind, any color—and remove the toughest stem end, leaving the rest intact. Put them cut side up in a roasting pan. Dissolve a little sugar in sherry vinegar and splash it around, then slow-roast in at 200° and don’t do anything but look at them and baste once in a while until they shrivel and release most of their liquid, about eight hours.

The tomatoes collapse as they cool, leaving behind a texture that’s part persimmon, part flan—in fact that’s how the waiter described it—but the characteristic caramel is enhanced in a way that defies explanation. Top them with a proportionate scoop of the best vanilla ice cream you know and spoon over the aforementioned nectar until the plate fills just shy of overflowing. And I bet you’ll take a bite before you take a photo, too.

– Kerri Conan

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2 Comments

  1. Joan Harper said...

    Well the tomato is a fruit not a vegetable so this actually makes sense to caramelize it and serve it for dessert! I’ve made slow roasted tomatoes with garlic the way they are served at Tetou in Golfe-Juan as a side dish. But the addition of the vinegar and sugar turns a savory dish into a sweet. Great idea!

  2. Andrea Clarke said...

    That vanilla ice cream is to die for and putting caramel on the side is plain genius.

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