Barley Rusk With Cherry Tomatoes

Santorini's unique cherry tomato's ideal marriage with cheese and barley rusk


Preparation & Cooking time: 20'

Serves: 1

The scientific name for this unique tomato is Lycopersicon esculentum, of the Solenaceae family. It is a landrace, meaning that it is grown only on Santorini. It may be small in size – the average weight being at just 20 grams – but it is miraculous. It has a deep red color, a thick skin with clear vertical lines, compact flesh that does not contain a lot of water and many seeds. The flavor is very sweet with strong acidity. It is also rich in inverted sugars (glucose-fructose) and aromatic oils. Its Protected Designation of Origin means that it can only be grown on Santorini, Thirasia, Palia and Nea Kameni, Aspronisi, Christiana and Askania – that is the islets off the main island’s coast.

The seeds first made it to Santorini through the Suez Canal in the mid-19th century. It is said that when the ships of Santorini docked there for supplies, the sailors would eat Egypt’s famed cherry tomatoes and bring seeds back. As a plant, it adapted well to Santorini’s particular climate of little rainfall, strong northerly winds and an abundance of sunshine (estimated at an average of more than 200 days a year). And it is the volcanic soil, with all its “difficulties” that ultimately imbued it with its special characteristics and sweetness.

The Santorini cherry tomato has the highest lycopene content among other tomato varieties, a phytochemical substance with major antioxidant properties, which, according to the latest studies from the University of Cambridge, lowers the chances of heart disease and helps prevent cancer.

INSTRUCTIONS

To prepare a barley rusk with fresh cheese, Santorini tomatos and cucumber:

Place the tomatoes in a food processor and lightly pulsate once or twice until cut into largish chunks. Place in a bowl; add salt and pepper, 3 tbsp of olive oil, the vinegar, the sweet wine and the herb of preference. Mix well with a spoon. Sprinkle some water on the dried rusk to soften it just a little bit and place on a plate. Spread the tomato salsa on top. Next, layer on the cheese and the capers, and drizzle with olive oil.

Serve with the sliced cucumber and add a pinch of salt.

INGREDIENTS

  • 160 gr Santorini cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil or 1 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped (or ½ tbsp any dried herb of preference)
  • salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar (preferably red-wine)
  • 1 tsp sweet wine (preferably Vinsanto)
  • 100 gr fresh white cheese from Santorini (mostly made of goat’s milk and by small dairies) or soft xinomyzithra
  • 1 medium-sized cucumber (the local variety is known as “katsouni”) sliced
  • 1 tbsp capers, washed of brine

INFO

Off Santorini, the trademark cherry tomatoes can be found, in various forms, in jars.
They are processed by Santo and sold at selected supermarkets, grocery stores and delis.



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