“Large fleshy tomatoes that grow in the field and burst with flavor are only available during the summer season,” says Michal Havivian of Havivian Farm. “As an organic vegetable farm, we carry a responsibility to preserve the local varieties and traditions. We grow two field tomato varieties: Brandinwine and Shanti (a variety cultivated exclusively for export due to little demand in the local market). They grow outside of greenhouses, under the sun and only in the summer, which is why they are juicy, aromatic, high in sugar and lycopene, and packed with nutritional values.”
“As a child I felt like the luckiest girl to have a grandmother that owned a restaurant. Not only did she cook the most delicious food in the world, I could show up whenever I wanted, choose anything from the menu, and leave without paying! My uncles and cousins’ hugs, kisses, and laughter as they ran between the tables was a bonus” Michal reminisces. “Of all the pots of rice, stews and meats grilled over the open fire, my strongest memory is of the skewered tomatoes my uncle, the grill-man and an exceptional craftsman, used to burn over charcoal.”
Three or four of the largest and reddest tomatoes are speared with a wide flat skewer and grilled until the skin is completely charred. The tomatoes are then sliced over a mound of steamed white rice, seasoned with salt and sumac and enjoyed alongside fresh greens. Michal favors field tomatoes for this recipe, but any ripe tomato will do. And if you don’t have access to a grill, the tomatoes can be charred over a gas flame.
Havivian Farm is an organic vegetable garden owned by the Havivian family. For the past 15 years, the farm has grown a wide selection of vegetables that are picked daily and immediately delivered to families that have chosen to bind the fate of their plate with that of the farm’s vegetable beds.
- 4 large field tomatoes
- 6 cups hot steamed white rice
- 3 teaspoons sumac
- Fine local olive oil (optional)
- To serve:
- Large bunch of mixed fresh green (such as garden cress, watercress, parsley, basil, and tarragon)
- Roast the tomatoes over an open grill or the gas flame of a stove until they are soft and charred. You can also roast the tomatoes in a dry hot pan, turning them occasionally.
- Place the charred tomatoes on the warm rice and slice them open. Sprinkle the sumac, season with salt and drizzle the olive oil on top.
- Serve with fresh greens and herbs.