The fruit fairy came to visit last week and left us a huge basket of tomatoes.
We’re so lucky to have such lovely neighbours. Sacha is not only Imi’s favourite baby sitter, she’s also our guardian angel when it comes to guineas, fish, pot plants and sour doughs when we’re away. Sacha’s the only one who can sing along to all of Pete’s Adge Cutler tracks and then from time to time she drops in with a tray of bargain peaches, figs or tomatoes that she’s picked up for a song at the Sunday market. I, in turn, scurry up the road with pots of cooked dishes from my recipe testing for the latest book or left overs from the cooking classes. It’s a perfect arrangement.
It’s tomato season right now and if you’ve got a green house (I’m very envious) you may even begin to wonder what to do with them all. It’s the only time of year when roasting up an entire tray of fresh tomatoes for a jug of sauce doesn’t seem a ludicrous extravagance.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
About 12 large tomatoes, cut in half equatorially
1 tbsp sugar ( I love to use light brown Muscovado)
1 heaped tsp salt
A good grind of black pepper
About 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
Put a couple of tablespoons of water into a roasting tray, just to stop the tomatoes from sticking. Lay the tomatoes in the roasting dish, cut side up, and sprinkle with the sugar, salt, pepper, oil and thyme. Roast in an oven at about 170 C/325 F for about 40 minutes until beginning to caramelise/colour in places.
You could just liquidise the lot at this point but I love the smooth texture you get if you push this through a good, old fashioned mouli-legumes (also great for mashed potatoes or extracting stock from prawn shells).
Now just fry up your onion until soft, add the garlic and cook until aromatic and then tip in the tomato puree. Season to taste.
And what to do with your sauce:
We ate some of our sauce with some simple beef meatballs, a few basil leaves and a pile of nutty bulghur wheat. Imi couldn’t keep her freckly nose out, it smelt so good.
The sauce was fabulous stirred into some cooked haricot beans (you could always use canned)
The last scrapings of the pot ended up on sourdough toast topped with some mature cheddar and flashed under the grill.
The options are endless: soup, pasta sauce, zipped up with a bit of chilli and served with sardines or mackerel.
All surplus tomatoes welcome here!