A colorful bouquet of various flavored tomatoes

When the summer heat distracts you from gastronomic pleasures, try this refreshing tomato recipe by Hrvoje Kroflin, one of the best chefs in Zagreb. Be prepared for the surprise of complex, layered flavors on your palate something you would never expect from a humble tomato.

For 4 persons

Preparation time:

about 2 weeks for the fermentation of homemade chili sauce

24 hours for tomato consomme

24–48 hours to flavor the tomatoes


For homemade sauce from fermented chili peppers:

  • 0.5 kg of ripe, red or yellow chili peppers, preferably 3–5 different types
  • 3–4 cloves of garlic
  • fruit or sweet peppers of your choice (optional)
  • 20 g of salt
  • 1 L of lukewarm water

For the tomato consomme:

  • 1 kg of tomatoes
  • 300 mL of water
  • salt
  • sugar
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh lemongrass
  • fresh basil
  • 50 grams of red onion
  • 10 grams of garlic

For the dish:

  • 500 grams of tomatoes, at least 5 different kinds, different shapes, and colors (e.g., Oxheart, apple, plum, yellow tomatoes, and some sort of cherry tomato, ideally Prinze Noir, to add color to the finished dish)
  • 3 different solutions for flavoring/pickling: fig leaf vinegar, apple cider vinegar flavored with coriander and mint, and elderberry juice.
  • 50 grams of pine nuts
  • wild herbs that are in season, such as rosemary, basil, and fennel, for decoration

First, make a fermented chili pepper sauce:

Wash and roughly chop several kinds of chili peppers, such as Aji Amarillo, Scotch Bonnet, Jalapeño, and Serrano. Choose ripe, red, or yellow peppers for the sauce.

Mix 20 grams of salt in a liter of water to cover the chopped peppers entirely. If you want to experiment with flavors, add 5–6 cloves of garlic to the sauce or pieces of fruit and sweet peppers, such as bell peppers.

Let it stand for 2 weeks in an airtight jar or container.

After 2 weeks, drain, save the brine, and mix into a paste of preferred consistency by adding the brine in which the peppers were fermented or apple cider vinegar if you want to stop the fermentation and prolong shelf life.

If you're in a hurry, use sriracha or another ready-made fermented chili sauce.

The day before, prepare the tomato consomme.

Combine the consomme ingredients: a kilo of tomatoes, fresh herbs, onions, garlic, salt, and sugar in a pot, and boil for 20 minutes. Once cooked, blend into a uniform mass and add 2 gelatin leaves. Transfer to a plastic container, let it cool, then freeze.

The next day, put the frozen liquid onto a sterile gauze, stretch it over another container, and allow the frozen consomme to slowly melt and clarify.

For the dish itself, flavor 3 out of the 5 types of tomatoes you picked.

Start by making a small cross incision on the underside of the tomatoes, then blanch them in boiling water for 20 seconds and shock them in ice water to keep the firmness of the flesh

and its natural color.

Once cool and dry, peel and filet the blanched tomatoes.

Put the tomato filets into selected solutions for a minimum of 24 and a maximum of 48 hours, so that the solution does not completely overpower the taste of the tomato.

Before serving, cut the remaining 2 types of tomatoes into the desired shape and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Top one of the tomatoes with fermented chili sauce.

To assemble the dish, place the flavored tomato filets at the bottom, then spoon the fresh ones on top.

Lightly toast the pine nuts.

Finish the dish with tomato consomme, pine nuts, fig leaf oil, and wild herbs that are in season at the time of serving, like rosemary flowers, fennel, and basil.

Enjoy it.