August 9, 2008

Try a new heirloom tomato: Azoychka Russian

I make an effort to try to grow at least one new variety of tomato each year. Garden Peach is my all time favorite! I'm partial to yellow/orange tomatoes so I usually look for heirlooms that are in that category. This year the new variety I found was Azoychka Russian. With a tongue twister name like that and a promise of "a distinctive flavor unlike any American variety" how could I lose? The first one ripened this past week and I prepared to pay full homage to its unveiling by making a loaf of crusty bread. I used a version of the now ubiquitous no-knead bread recipe. For my loaf, I altered Jen from Modern Beet's version of the recipe by only using a single half cup of rye flour and no whole wheat. This is the fourth or fifth loaf I've made of the no-knead with rye flour. The result was a tasty, lightly rye flavored, crusty loaf. When the bread had cooled enough to cut I got out tomatoes' other best friend, flaky sea salt. A little fat was required to carry the flavor of the tomato so I reached for our standby Earth Balance margarine to spread on the bread. Though the good bottle of olive oil was a tempting second choice.
There were lingering green shoulders and a little cracking but the inside of the tomato was a gorgeous, peachy orange. The first slice also revealed a tiny spot of pink in the center which reminded me of Queen Anne's Lace. The flavor was mild. It reminded me of the Mr. Stripey tomatoes I've had in the past. There wasn't a lot of tomato flavor but there was enough of a citrus note. The flesh was meaty and there weren't a lot of seeds. The flesh was similar to a Brandywine tomato and it worked well as a slicing tomato. I think the flavor would be too mild to add a lot to anything cooked but it should be good on sandwiches and in salads. In all, it's not a contender to beat out my beloved Garden Peach as my favorite tomato but the inside is beautiful and the name is fun to say. I'm interested to see if all of them have the spot of pink in the center when cut. If you are looking for a new low acid heirloom tomato for slicing this would be a decent one to try. Here are a few places that sell Azoychka Russian seeds:
Tanager Song Organic Heirloom Seeds
Reimer Seeds
Totally Tomatoes
Next Harvest
My Azoychka Russian tomato with its best friends, crusty bread and flaky sea salt

I'm adding this to Joelen's Culinary Adventures Tasting Sessions, Tomatoes! event since this was my tomato tasting.