Wednesday, 23 May 2018

RECIPE - Roast Tomato Salad

Apparently this week is British Tomato Week - if you grow your own tomatoes this might be puzzling, as your plants are probably still just a few inches high and months away from fruiting, but the commercial hothouses are way ahead of domestic gardens and we are already seeing British tomatoes in the shops.

I find even the best bought tomatoes have a lot less flavour than home grown, unless you are lucky enough to be able to buy never-refrigerated ones straight from the producer, but roasting them seems to reawaken the flavour that refrigeration put to sleep.

A word of caution - this recipe creates a lot of smoke! I seriously thought my oven was on fire at one point. Definitely not one to make the day after cleaning the oven!

To roast your tomatoes:
Pre-heat oven to 220 C (200 fan), 425 F, gas mark 7.
Take your tomatoes - I used 4 fairly large ones - quarter them and lay them, skin side down and not touching each other, on an oven tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper, sea salt flakes and a generous sprinkling of dried oregano.
Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 140 C (120 fan), 275 F, gas mark 1 and cook until softened and shrunken but not collapsing - 15 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your tomatoes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then remove to a serving plate.
Now you can add other ingredients - I scattered them with Kalamata olives and flaked Parmesan but other cheeses such as mozzarella, torn into shreds, and crumbled feta are equally delicious. A few slices of red onion and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar would be lovely too, or maybe some slices of Parma ham.
The tomatoes have a lovely rich, smokey sweetness that goes beautifully with summer dishes of all kinds.

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