3 ways with tomatoes, oven roasted and preserved in oil, for a light bruschetta lunch or baked with cheese in a simple satisfying tart.
The humble tomato!
If asked about my favourite ingredients, the humble tomato is right up there, my favourite fruit and probably the one thing I eat more of than anything else. Fresh, roasted, sun-blushed, tinned and added to food, I eat tomatoes in all forms! Walk into my kitchen and alongside the fruit bowl is a bowl set aside just for tomatoes which my children and I eat like sweets.
My love of tomatoes stems from childhood when my Dad had a greenhouse full of tomato plants. He would walk through the garden while telling me to put out my hand so that he could drop a tomato in it, warm with the sun, straight from the greenhouse and no better way to eat a tomato. Consequently, this has of course led to me being exceptionally fussy about the tomatoes I eat!
My inspiration for today’s recipes are simple. Michelle makes delicious oven roasted tomatoes and is always generous enough to share a jar with me.
While I was looking at the last jar she gifted, I decided that I must make them the star of a tart. The bruschetta is a favourite summer lunch, tomatoes with bread, olive oil and fresh herbs, mmm!
1 large box baby plum or cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1 bulb garlic (break into cloves but leave in skin)
salt & pepper
Line a baking tray with some parchment paper and place the tomatoes on the paper, skin side down. Scatter over the garlic cloves and a generous amount of dried oregano, season with a little salt and ground black pepper. Place in an oven at 100CFan and cook for 4-5 hours. The tomatoes will dry up but should still be a little soft to the touch.
Pop the garlic out of its skin and place in the sterilised jars along with the tomatoes. Completely cover the tomatoes with olive oil and seal the jars.
This recipe is not too prescriptive with quantities, make up what you have room to store.
These tomatoes are delicious with green vegetables. Steam some green beans, then add the tomatoes and some of the oil to a frying pan, heat up and toss in the green beans to coat.
We use olive oil for storing the tomatoes, not extra virgin as we do like to use the flavoured oil for cooking.
36 oven roasted tomatoes (12 cut up/12 left whole)
6 egg yolks
4 tbsp creme fraiche
salt & pepper
280g plain flour
110g unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
1 medium egg (beaten with the addition of 1 tbsp cold water)
1 large pinch salt
Place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse to a breadcrumb consistency. Gradually add the egg mixture and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball. Remove and form into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the fridge, place on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin gently roll out the dough, turning it a quarter turn until you have a nice thin dough, approximately 3mm. Cut the pastry to the required size for the tray (our trays were 12cm diameter) and gently line the tin, lightly pressing the dough into the edges of the pan, we like to use a small amount of excess pastry to do this. Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork and return the the pastry shells to the fridge for 20 minutes, this will avoid the pastry shrinking during baking.
Remove the pastry shells from the fridge, line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Blind bake the pastry shells in a pre-heated oven at 180C fan for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and remove the baking beans and paper liner and return the shells to the oven for a further 2 minutes to allow then to colour. Remove the shells from the oven and set aside until your are ready to fill.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and saute gently over a low-medium heat for 15 minutes allowing the leeks to soften but not colour. Season the leek mixture with salt and pepper then stir in creme fraiche, egg yolks, chopped tomatoes, most of the cheese (leave some pieces to decorate top). Stir well well to combine then share the mixture across each of the 6 pastry shells.
Decorate each tart with 3 whole tomatoes and some of the cubed brie. Return to the oven for 12-15 minutes until the filling has set to the touch.
These tarts can be served hot or cold.
This recipe is very easily adapted for vegetarian diners, just make sure the cheese you are using is vegetarian.
We have used brie and tomato here, but other combinations could include:
blue cheese and thyme
gruyere cheese and ham
cheddar cheese and spring onion
We like to make individual tarts, but you could also make one large flan. Use the same quantities but adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Cut the tomatoes in half and place in an oven-proof dish. Push the slivers of garlic into the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and scatter over half the tarragon. Place in a pre-heated oven at 160CFan for 30 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes from the roasting dish and place on top of the bread. Meanwhile melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the remaining tarragon and any pan juices. Pour the butter mixture over the bread and serve immediately.
If you don't have any tarragon, fresh basil will work just as well in this recipe. We have chosen tarragon here as its a lesser known combination, but equally delicious.