How to and why: TOMATOES

We always have a glut of tomatoes in the summer. Basically we just plant too many! Here are a couple of recipes to use an abundance of tomatoes and, firstly, a few reasons why.


WHY: Tomatoes are very good for you. Much of their nutritional benefit comes from vitamins A, C and fibre and a high phytonutrient content (particularly cherry and baby plum tomatoes) which protect us from harmful free radicals (and sunburn!). The BIG thing is to keep them at room temperature as it’s been shown that storage lower than 10 degrees stops a tomato’s ripening process (during which the fruit can double its phytonutrient levels).


Here are two recipes for tomatoes. The first was so easy to make with juicy tomatoes - all the flavour of the fruit comes through when they are oven roasted. I love a bit of pastry occasionally - mindful eating means you can have whatever you fancy, whenever (including pastry!) .


HOW TO: 1. Roasted tomato and feta tart

I took a Nigella peach tart recipe as inspiration and made this with a basket full of different sizes and coloured tomatoes. It looked fabulous. Flavoursome fresh tomatoes, soft and salty cheese with garlic in the background - it's a winning combination.





WHAT YOU NEED:

Loads of tomatoes – different colours and sizes looks good I think

Shop bought flaky pastry (block or rolled) – thawed if frozen

Block of feta cheese

100g cottage cheese

2 tsp fresh or dried thyme

2 cloves of garlic

Salt & pepper

Olive oil



WHAT YOU DO:

Roll out the pastry to the size of your baking tray

Score round the edge within about ¾” of the edge (don’t cut through)

Crumble your feta and mix with the cottage cheese, thyme, seasoning and crushed garlic cloves. Spread it all over the middle of the pastry, out to the edges (add a tiny bit of olive oil if you need to loosen it).

Slice or half your tomatoes and place these over the mixture, like fish scales (see my second photo).

Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven on 150 for about 50 minutes, or until the pastry looks relatively cooked in the middle.


I had mine with garden salad, the mister had chips 😊. This recipe serves 4 so we had enough for lunch the next day. Perfetto!



HOW TO: 2. tomato passata


WHAT YOU NEED:


For 1 kg of tomatoes you also need:

3 large cloves of garlic

a glug of good olive oil

6 shallots

large handful of basil leaves

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Seasoning



WHAT YOU DO:


Half the tomatoes and oven roast with a little oil for about 45 minutes until they are just charred (this will intensify the flavour).

Chop the shallots and soften in the oil for about five minutes.

Add the peeled and chopped garlic.

Add the tomatoes and simmer gently with the basil leaves for about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar. If the sauce is very watery continue to simmer until it reduces down to quite a thickish, but runny mixture. Season to taste. Leave to cool to just warm or room temperature. Pulverise with a hand-blender. Use, or freeze.



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