From oven dried tomatoes to tomato leaf pesto, and not forgetting the ultimate fresh tomato Bloody Mary – read our chef’s top tips for tomatoes.
Tomato leaf pesto
It’s not just the fruit that can be used up – try this unusual twist on pesto and use up the tomato plant leaves, too.
1 handful of small tomato leaves
15ml red wine vinegar
200ml olive oil
1 small garlic clove
15g pumpkin seed
Blend all ingredients together
1 ltr water
1 handful tomato leaves and stalks
1 clove garlic
½ small onion
Boil all ingredients together and strain through a sieve.
Oven dried tomatoes
These oven dried tomatoes are a foolproof way for preserving a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes. Stored in olive oil they are a great addition of intense tomato flavour to pasta, roasted veg, with eggs for breakfast, an appetizer or an amazing gift.
Make sure to dry them cut side up as the tomato juice collects and concentrates instead of dropping out.
Storing them in oil will preserve their shelf life and leave you with a tomato-infused oil to be use after, so don’t throw it away! Drizzle over ricotta on toast with some capers.
Wash the tomatoes and pat dry. Slice in half, length ways, and remove as much of the seeds as you can with a spoon. Season with salt and lay cut side up on a cooling rack or a tray with grease proof paper, making sure they’re not touching. Put in the oven at 100 degrees for 3-4 hours until they are shrivelled. Cool the tomatoes to room temperature. Transfer them to a jar and cover with olive oil. You can store in the fridge for 1-2 months.
Tomato and black pepper vodka ‘Bloody Mary’
Spice up your life with this recipe for a Bloody Mary cocktail with fresh tomatoes.
30g black peppercorns
5 cherry tomatoes
½ tbsp lemon juice
½ tbsp sugar syrup
Pinch of salt
In a jar combine the vodka and peppercorns, give it a good stir and refrigerate for 2 days. Strain and discard the peppercorns. In a glass of cocktail shaker combine the tomatoes, lemon juice, sugar syrup and salt then with a muddler or wooden spoon crush and stir to combine. Add 50ml vodka and ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass and enjoy in the sun.
This dressing adds an amazing fresh tomato flavour to your salads through the summer. You could mix with tuna, anchovies, olives, soft boiled eggs, gem lettuce, spring onion and chives for a Nicoise-style salad.
90ml of extra virgin olive oil
40g of cherry tomatoes
30ml of balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove
Crush the cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves with a pestle and mortar, then add the oil and balsamic vinegar slowly, using the pestle and mortar to mix and emulsify. Season with salt and pepper.
Green tomato chutney
This is a great use for tomatoes that stubbornly won’t ripen. If you’re not using new jars, to help prevent re-used jars smelling of their previous contents, add a little bicarbonate of soda and hot water, leave for a couple of minutes, then rinse well before using.
To sterilise jars: wash and leave to air dry. Place cold jars on a baking tray in a cold oven. Heat to 150C/Gas 2 for 15 minutes. Sterilise lids by boiling for 10 minutes then leaving to dry thoroughly before using, or once you’ve potted your chutney, pop on clean, dry lids and invert the jars for 10 mins to let the hot chutney sterilise them, before turning right way up. Always pot hot chutney into hot jars. This recipe should make about 1kg chutney.
750g green tomatoes, washed and chopped
350g shallots or onions, chopped
200g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
300ml malt vinegar
2 red chillies
Small piece fresh root ginger, peeled
A few yellow mustard seeds (optional)
1 tsp salt
200g brown sugar
Put the tomatoes, shallots or onions and apples in a large, heavy-based, non-reactive pan, with half the vinegar.
Bring to the boil then gently cook for about 30 minutes, until tender. Tie the chillies, ginger and mustard seeds (if using) in a muslin bag. Bruise with a heavy rolling pin or hammer and add to the pan with the raisins.
Cook on a low heat, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens (about 1 hour).
Add the salt, sugar and the rest of the vinegar, stirring well until the sugar dissolves. Con-tinue cooking until the mixture has thickened.
Remove the muslin spice bag. Pot into sterilised jars while the chutney is still warm. Seal. Leave for 6 weeks to mature.