Monday, 5 September 2011

Sun-blush tomatoes

If you are currently reaping the benefits of your tomato crop you'll no doubt have a glut round about now. Not me, you understand. I live in a first floor flat and couldn't be arsed with anything more than a pot of herbs which I killed after 3 weeks. The farmer's markets are full of them though and British toms are cheap as chips in the supermarket. Nothing says summer like the fresh, sunny taste of a straight-from-the-vine plum tomato. But for a true taste sensation I reckon you'd have to go a long way to beat the home-grown cherry. Bursting with sweetness and crunchy as a kumquat I could eat them morning, noon and night, with plenty left over for snacks in between.

If however you do start to crave something else, here's an idea of a way to preserve your tomatoes for the coming weeks. Sun blush tomatoes are semi-dried in the oven and tend to be sweeter and prettier than their sun-dried cousins. At work we use them as a garnish for twice baked soufflĂ© or salmon roulade. When I make them at home I store them in jars and cover them with extra virgin olive oil to prolong their life. Kept in the fridge they'll last for 3-4 weeks like this and they are lovely in salads, Spanish tortilla, as a filling for chicken or just straight out of the jar with a sexy wedge of Camembert. And what's more they couldn't be easier to make.

Sun-blush tomato
  • As many cherry tomatoes as you can fit on a tray, basically
  • A handful of fresh thyme
  • A healthy pinch of smoked sea salt
  • 2 turns of freshly ground black pepper (depending on the volume of tomatoes)
  • 2 tblsp extra version olive oil (for baking)
  • 100ml olive oil (for jarring, if required)
  1. Slice your tomatoes in half through the core. Sprinkle with the freshly picked thyme leaves, salt and pepper and olive oil. 
  2. Finally place any vines left over on the tray (for that lovely aroma to seep into the tomatoes) and place in the centre of a very low oven (110C) for 2-3 hours. When they are semi-dry, ie dry on the outside, but still juicy to the bite, they are ready.
  3. If you want to jar them, wait until they are completely cold before transferring them to the jam jar and completely covering with the olive oil. 

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