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 soufflé 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.
- 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)
- Slice your tomatoes in half through the core. Sprinkle with the freshly picked thyme leaves, salt and pepper and olive oil.
- 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.
- 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.