This is the kind of dish that completely depends on high quality ingredients: fresh, gorgeous tomatoes and excellent butter.
I first encountered Cœur de Bœuf tomatoes, a cousin of the American beefsteak tomato, at Ô Chateau in a lovely salad preparation. Its uneven ridges create very small pockets of seeds inside the fruit, so the flesh is not nearly as watery as other tomato varieties. Substantial and fleshy, this variety is perfect for slicing thick and eating raw.
I can’t get over how pretty these slices are, arranged on a big plate — like big tomato flowers.
What better way to do homage to a perfect tomato than to dress it in just good salt, roughly ground pepper, and nutty beurre noisette? You’ll want to dress it up more — maybe add some vinegar or dots of goat cheese or eat it on slices of baguette — don’t. Just eat the slices, bare but for the butter, and marvel. Then sop up the leftover juices with bread.
Brown Butter Tomatoes
Makes 1 serving.
1 large tomato, preferably Cœur de Bœuf or other beefsteak variety
flaky sea salt
coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of excellent quality butter (I used beurre doux from Pascal Beillevaire)
Slice the tomato into 1/3-inch slices. Arrange the slices on a plate, slightly overlapped. Liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. As the butter starts to bubble, swirl the pan a little to redistribute the milk fats. Continue simmering until the butter starts to smell nutty and the milk fats turn golden brown. (Be careful: butter goes from brown to burnt very quickly. Watch it assiduously after it begins bubbling.)
Generously spoon the brown butter over the tomato slices, allowing it to pool in crevices and leak out onto the plate. Eat while the butter is still hot.