Wednesday, 1 September 2010
What to do with a glut of tomatoes
This really is the best time of the year for fresh produce. Almost too good. Temptation lurks round every corner as I found to my cost when I bought an insane amount at a veg stall in the lovely old-fashioned town of Wells the other day. But the bargains! 6 peppers, 8 apples and 1 1/2 kilos of courgettes for a pound each. Massive trays of plums and, best of all, a 4 kilo tray of tomatoes for £2.
Although we've been munching heroically through healthgiving quantities of veggies since Saturday - much to the disgust of my OH who thinks 1 a day is excessive, never mind 5 - it's the tomatoes that have been the greatest success. Not that they were brilliant in quality. I started off using 500g odd for a ratatouille (you can find the recipe I used on my student website Beyond Baked Beans here) but they were really too small and too unripe to peel easily, thus scotching my initial plan to stash tubfuls of fresh tomato purée in the freezer.
Instead I cut them in half horizontally, laid them out on a well-oiled baking tray, seasoned them with salt, pepper and za'atar and drizzled them with more olive oil. I started them off at the top of the AGA then transferred them to the cool oven for about 3 hours. They came out wonderfully sweet, just like those posh 'Sunblush' ones you buy in cartons. You can obviously just cook them in a low oven if you don't have an AGA.
I blitzed half into a sauce in the food processor and froze that then drizzled more oil over the other half and put them in the fridge. We've been having them bruschetta-style on sourdough toast and they've been delicious but I've found myself thinking of making them into a salad with dressed lentils and parsley, and crumbling some feta on top. I think that's what I'm going to do with the next batch.
I have to say it was all unbelievably satisfying and I felt ridiculously smug at my domestic goddessery. But I still have to finish the rest of my box otherwise my 'bargains' won't be as brilliant as they seemed.
Have you been cooking up any seasonal produce like tomatoes in bulk? Or pickling or preserving? Do share any good tips.