Smoked tomato braised pork shoulder with creamy gruyere grits.
Chef Chris Humphrey (center) takes a bow with crew members Joe Garnett (left) and Eric Gondek.
Photo by Dave McNair
Tomatoes. Like the potato, humankind has invented a multitude of ways to prepare and eat the darn things. On Sunday, July 31, Rapture chef Chris Humphrey presented his take on the fruit of vegetables, serving up a five-course Tomato Dinner.
"Nothing says summer like tomatoes," says Humphrey, whom some may remember from Fellini's #9, where his calamari rocked the house. "And it's been a great season for tomatoes."
Indeed, some industry experts have called this year's Virginia tomato crop the "best they've ever seen," thanks to the steady warm weather that began in early spring. For Sunday's tomato dinner, Rapture owner Mike Rodi says that he and Humphrey simply went to the Charlottesville City Market on Saturday, loaded the tomatoes in his son's red Radio Flyer wagon, and rolled them back to the restaurant.
Over the five courses, various tomato permutations mingled with scallops, grapefruit, snapper, vodka, pork shoulder, potatoes, garlic, mozzarella cheese, a toasted almond pastry, a light and fruity pinot noir from Oregon, and, believe it or not, pink peppercorn ice cream.
"I'm a sucker for tomatoes," says Humphrey.