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The pink tomato of Alcolea: a sweeter vegetable from southern Spain
14 September 2018 @ 12:11

      Today I would like to talk to you about a vegetable grown in Andalusia (South of Spain): “El tomate rosa” (“the pink tomato”).

      The tomato was brought, by Columbus to Spain.

Tomato came from America

      But, after the Discovery of America, its use was not immediate. It arrived to Spain in the sixteenth century, but for a long time it only served as an ornamental plant, because it was thought to be poisonous. And so until the eighteenth century, which progressively spread from here to other countries, whose kitchens would be almost orphan without tomatoes. They would probably be very good, because here the imagination is inexhaustible, but they would be others. Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, most European countries, even non-Mediterranean countries, North Africa ... have incorporated tomato. And above all America.

      The tomato is not only good for its properties (The tomato is rich in vitamins and minerals: this vegetable provides vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant, as well as vitamin A, K, iron and potassium. The tomato protects the eyesight: it contains vitamin A, which helps protect our eyes from degenerative diseases or night blindness), but also allows us to make a variety of dishes: with it, we can make gazpacho, salmorejo, sauces, stir-fries. It combines perfectly with chicken, egg, veal, pork and cod stews. Pizzas, lasagna, cannelloni, spaghetti, macaroni ... In salads is essential. And it also adapts, like any other fruit, to marmalade and jams. Tomatoes can be stuffed with tuna, Russian salad, sausages, rice, mushrooms.

Red tomato​​​​​​​

      If you want to make a “Gazpacho”, you have to do this one: Put, in a large glass of blender: Garlic, salt, vinegar (usually apple), tomato, olive oil and whisk everything with that blender. Keep in the fridge, so that it is cold, which is better.

Andalusian gazpacho​​​​​​​

      But today I would not like to talk about the red tomato, but the "pink tomato". In Spain there are many places, where pink tomatoes are grown; but above all there are 3 famous places: Barbastro (Aragón), Los Palacios (Seville) and Alcolea (Córdoba). Today I want to talk to you about the Alcolea tomatoes.

      Alcolea is a neighborhood of Córdoba.

The map with the area around Cordoba​​​​​​​

An aereal view of Alcolea and the Guadalquivir river​​​​​​​

Alcolea close up​​​​​​​

Another angle of Alcolea close up​​​​​​​

      In Alcolea, there are 3 types of tomatoes: the Pink, the Hybrid and the Copado. But I want to talk to you about the pink tomato.

      A farmer from Cordoba says that this year, in general, the tomato harvest has been delayed, due to the cold that it has been.

      The “pink tomato” or “maiden skin” is not known only for its characteristic colour but also for its interior, which becomes almost reddish and thin skin.

The Pink tomato from Alcolea​​​​​​​

      Some tomatoes weigh even 3/4 of a kilogram.

      Among the multiple characteristics, that those who consume it say about it, they find that it is very meaty, juicy and sweet, and also has few seeds. The low acidity and taste are also prominent among its consumers. This fruit, which prevails in Cordovan fruit shops during the months of July and August, is grown in the province of Córdoba. In particular, the pink tomato of Alcolea and La Carlota is known. It is a food that adapts well to high temperatures and allows this product to be exported every day throughout Spain. And that even comes to be used were from the border of the Iberian Peninsula. Michelle Obama herself, during her visit to Madrid in June, was able to enjoy this food so characteristic of Cordoba. It was during one of the meals that they made at the embassy, where the American claimed this fruit because it is the only type of tomato that she eats, according to the owner of the Frescum organic supermarket, Carlos Pérez.

Michelle-Obama eaten pasta with tomato​​​​​​​

      "Many people come every day looking for the pink tomato", explains the saleswoman of one of the fruit shops, in the market of the Plaza de España, María del Carmen Cañete. The greengrocer says that the taste is different and that is why it is so claimed among the people of Cordoba, despite the fact that its price is somewhat higher than the rest. Cañete says that this product is available in her establishment during "almost the whole year", but especially during the summer season. The clients of the commerce mainly use it for "salads", according to exposes the clerk. However, Cañete says that "lately it is being used to perform salmorejo".

Salmorejo from Cordoba​​​​​​​

      The same use is also given to this food by the customers of the fruit shop La Naranja, according to one of its employees, Manuel Martín. The fruit seller details that the pink tomato arrives from Alcolea, during the months of summer, since it is a "delicate" food, and that has a sale superior to the one of the others. "It has more flavour than those from outside", Martin argues. The seller notes that, when the season starts, the price is higher but that it decreases as summer ends.

      "A tomato chopped, with fat salt and pepper point", this is the preferred way to eat this product of Teresa, a Cordovan who regularly goes to the fruit shop to buy this fruit. "It is a food that spoils easily, so I prefer to buy less", she argues.

      Salmorejo, a classic from Cordovan summer and in which the tomato plays an essential role, is another dish for which it is increasingly used. Although it does not provide the characteristic colour, in this cold creation, the flavour is prime among those who prefer to use this tomato from Alcolea and La Carlota in the preparation of this food.

      Whatever the purpose with which the pink tomato is purchased, this product will continue to be a priority in the healthy diet of the people of Cordoba. A food that comes from the orchards of the province and that for its flavour is increasingly demanded by citizens. Its large size and the characteristic interior, in which the seeds are scarce, allow easy identification of the pink tomato in the markets or fruit shops, in the province. And although it still does not stand out internationally, among the more than 40 tomato varieties that exist, everything points to its taste that will make this product exported more and more to all parts of Europe and other continents.

       The pink tomatoes are ugly, with many scars derived from the fragility of their skin and a beautiful pink colour. They have nothing to do with the repeated tomatoes in series, that we usually find in supermarkets. When opening the tomato in half, we noticed the differences with the usual tomatoes. First, the tomato is cut without any difficulty since its skin is very thin. And second, the seeds are not grouped in independent cells as they happen with the others, but they are distributed throughout the surface. It has much more meat and less water. Therefore, although they have a slightly higher price, it is worth it.

      These tomatoes are so good that, with just a few grains of salt and pepper, they are already irresistible, but with the recipe that I am going to give you now, the aroma of white truffle and the flavour of garlic will make you have a dish of category, on your table.

      These are the Ingredients:

1/2 kg of pink tomatoes of Alcolea

3 garlic cloves

Essence of white truffle spray

Olive oil

Salt.

      Cut the tomatoes with a mandolin or a knife as thin as possible. Place it on a platter. Sprinkle with the essence of white truffle and sprinkle with fat salt on top.

      Peel and crush the cloves of garlic in a mortar. Heat oil in a pan and add the garlic. Move with a teaspoon until golden brown and crispy. Be careful because they burn quickly. Let temper a little and wash down the tomatoes with the oil and the garlic.

      And this must be the result:

Carpaccio with truffle​​​​​​​

      Well, I hope that you will like this article and hope that you will wish to try to cook this dish.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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1 Comments


anthomo16 said:
15 September 2018 @ 10:13

Thank you - they look delicious and I will try these

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