Sliced Heirloom Tomato Stack with Blue Cheese
- Onion Rings:
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups Arborio Rice coating, recipe follows
- 6 red onions, thickly sliced, loosely separated into rings
- 8 cups peanut oil
- Tomato Stack:
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes
- Gray salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, julienne
- Balsamic vinegar, to drizzle
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese, frozen
Pour buttermilk into a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl spread out the rice coating. Take onion rings and coat with buttermilk, and then cover with coating, shaking off excess. Place coated rings on a tray.
In a large deep saucepan, heat peanut oil to 375 degrees F. With a slotted wire spoon, carefully lower the coated rings into pan to fry. Do the rings in small batches to allow oil to remain a consistent temperature. Place fried rings on a paper towel on a tray to dry.
Cut a small slice from the bottom of the tomatoes - enough so that they will stand. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 2 or 3), leaving the stem on top.
Season the slices with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil.
Place the basil leaves in between the tomato slices, and re-stack tomato. Serve re-stacked tomatoes around a larger stack of onion rings in center of a large serving plate. Drizzle more olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Grate the frozen blue cheese over top.Arborio Rice Coating:
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina
2 tablespoons table salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grind the rice in a blender until very fine. Put it in a bowl and add the all-purpose flour, semolina, salt and pepper. Toss until well blended. Store in a sealed container in the freezer for maximum freshness.
Yield: about 5 cups
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello