Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

Tomato sonata

 

My kitchen is over flowing with tomatoes of every imaginable shape, size and colour. Some are from my garden, others my neighbors garden and more yet from the farmers market. It’s like having my own little tomato orchestra to conduct a culinary symphony with that would highlight the classic preparations  composed with any of the thousands of available varieties of tomatoes.

Tomatoes originated in the Central and South America regions with the Aztec people being the first to domesticate it. Spanish colonizers introduced the tomato into Mexico and brought it to Europe. Europeans considered the tomato to be a poisonous member of the Deadly Nightshade family. It was given the scientific name lycopersicum which translates to “wolf peach” and it was believed that the plump red berries could be used to summon werewolves. Whether science or common sense prevailed, the tomato has become one of the most commonly consumed and cultivated food sources in Canada.

Tomatoes can be dissected into four separate tissue types. The cuticle or skin which is often removed before cooking surrounds the fruit wall contains the most sugar and amino acids. The fruit wall encapsulates the seed jelly which is high in citric acid. In the centre of the tomato we find the pith. Remove any one of these four parts of a tomatoes anatomy and you will change its overall flavour and change the outcome of any recipe that calls for tomatoes.  As well tomatoes that are left to ripen on the vine naturally contain more sugars and acid compared to store bought tomatoes that are picked green and forced to ripen during transport by spraying them with ethylene gas.

The most important factor on how a tomato tastes depends on how we store them. Tomatoes should never be refrigerated as their fresh flavour is destroyed by cold temperatures. When a tomato is subjected to temperatures below 13 °c they suffer damage to their internal components. This results in tomatoes that have a mealy texture and loss of flavor due to cold-damaged flavor producing enzymes.

I used the following recipe for some clients recently with great success. Although any tomato variety could be used I used red cherry tomatoes and yellow teardrop tomatoes to give it a rustic yet colorful appearance.

 

Tomato Tart

Ingredients

2 cups red cherry tomatoes

1 cup yellow teardrop

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

2cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Place an eight inch tart pan on top of a silipat or parchment lined baking sheet. Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the tart pan as this will form the crust.
In a medium sized bowl, toss together the tomatoes, oil, and garlic until evenly coated.  Randomly arrange the tomatoes on top of the parmesan cheese. Sprinkle tomatoes with fresh thyme, and season with salt and pepper.  Roast the tomato tart in a preheated oven at 400°F for 20 minutes until the tomatoes have a slightly charred and shrivelled appearance. Let the tomato tart cool down and serve it warm or at room temperature with a salad and grilled chicken or beef. Serves 6.

 



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