If you are growing cherry tomatoes in your garden, it’s always a happy, summer moment when you first see them ripening on the vine. Picking one off and eating it right away, you get that first sweet, juicy pop of flavor and a sense of accomplishment (even if this particular plant is known for its low maintenance requirements).
“This summer, sungolds from Balsam Farms are extra sweet and delicious,” says chef Philippe Corbet of the East End-focused Alchemy Hospitality. “All the rain and the heat have been great for local, summer vegetables.”
Corbet would know. As executive chef of Duryea’s (Montauk and Orient) and Lulu Kitchen & Bar in Sag Harbor, his love of working closely with local purveyors to source the best ingredients is evident in his seasonal menus for the restaurants and special events.
“I love doing grazing tables,” says Corbet about a recent event at Duryea’s that included all local farm produce and hummus dips as its centerpiece. “They look phenomenal and help to bring people together in conversation.”
One such passed app offered at the Orient Point location embraces the simplicity of charred Balsam Farms sungold tomatoes, skewered with grilled halloumi, a salty cheese from Cypress made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk. Drizzled with Greek chimichurri, the fresh oregano, garlic and lemon all create a perfect summer bite as a starter to a great meal.
“I consider it Mediterranean finger food,” says Corbet of the mini kebab, “very light and fresh, and the grilled halloumi creates a luxurious effect.”
Have a hearty haul of cherry tomatoes? Corbet suggests following the skewers with a grilled fish like a branzino or striped bass accompanied with them. “Toss the cherry tomatoes with capers, kalamata olives, a little harissa, lemon juice, quickly sautée and finish with a great olive oil,” says Corbet. “ You can even use the same Greek chimichurri, which goes very well with grilled fish.”
A lot of great things can come from a small fruit!
Pour your guests a Greek white wine like Assyrtiko or a crisp Sancerre, pass these grilled heirloom cherry tomato and halloumi with Greek chimichurri skewers on a lovely platter, and enjoy this delicious, conversation starter.
Chef Philippe Corbet’s sungold tomato and grilled halloumi skewers
- 1 to 2 pints Balsam Farms sungold or heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 2 9 oz hunks of halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
For the Greek chimichurri
- 4 tbsp chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp za'atar
- 1 handful fresh oregano leaves
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 6 lemons, 1 zested, all juiced
- 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch of kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper