You say tomato. . . .

We are lucky enough to have some of Tim’s cherry and plum tomatoes still ripening on the vines – this late in the year. If they don’t ripen before they start to rot then I shall make curried green tomato, and green tomato and ale chutney to accompany our Autumn honey and mustard baked hams.

But if they do ripen – yippee – I have lots of ideas as to what to do with one of my favourite vegetables or should I say, fruits.

I have always wondered why sunblush tomatoes from the deli are so expensive when they are so easy to prepare at home with what is often a bountiful crop of end of season leftover tomatoes, or, of course, fresh tomatoes are very reasonable to buy.

All you have to do is halve cherry tomatoes or thickly slice the plum ones. Place them on a baking tray and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and freshly grated garlic. Then a sprinkling of caster sugar and light seasoning and even some fresh chilli pieces if you like. Place into a medium oven 140’c for about half an hour and then turn it right down to about 100’c, leaving them wallowing in the warmth for as long as 5 hours– removing them when they are looking rather shrivelled but still moist inside. But put a timer on or else you may well forget them. Delish with cold meats or a cheeseboard.

Alternatively do the same thing but in a hotter oven, say about 170’c and for only an hour or so until soft and pulpy even a little charred around the edges. Use a fork to crush them or use a hand blender and really mush them if you prefer. Then stir the fresh tomato sauce into some cooked pasta with thinly sliced mozzarella which will melt deliciously in the heat. Or use them as a base for a spag bol or shepherd’s pie.

But my favourite way of eating the tomatoes is to make Tom’s salsa (which I hope he does not mind me sharing his recipe!). Using the best tastiest tomatoes you have- or can buy – halve them and scoop out all the seeds. Now finely chop the skin and pulp into scant 1/2cm pieces. Season. Add a little finely chopped fresh garlic and a splash of good virgin olive oil. Add a couple of freshly torn basil leaves and leave in a covered bowl overnight in the fridge to infuse. Adjust the garlic to your taste and how many tomatoes. Use the seeds and juice in a ratatouille.

Now what to do with these delicious tomato pieces– one of Merrow Savouries’ most popular canapés this year was to brush a crispy bruschetta or crostini with a little fresh garlic oil, then a topping of Tom’s tomato salsa plus a slice of goats cheese and a good fresh black olive or fresh basil leaf. Looks and tastes great.

Or make more of a meal with the salsa and perhaps add some finely chopped spring onions and chopped coriander with a dash of fresh lime juice. Place on a slice of toasted sourdough or a granary bread and perhaps some slices of ripe avocado and/or a lightly poached egg. Very ‘ladies what brunch’ but very delish.


Merrow Savouries