I'm always guaranteed plenty of willing helpers when there is a promise of some cooking in the kitchen. This is my beautiful niece Sarah, who recently helped me to clean the greenhouse and while we were there we picked lots of divine tomatoes.
After a long summer of waiting for my tomato plants to ripen, in the past fortnight a big glut if them have come along. I expect the lack of heat this August is to blame for their late development. It's really fantastic to head out to the greenhouse as the plants are all overflowing with tasty tomatoes. These home grown tomatoes seem to have a flavour different to any shop bought variety. They need very little added to them to create a really delicious dish and most of the time we eat them with just a sprinkle of sea salt and drizzle of a nice extra virgin olive oil.
The best way to maintain the flavour of these Irish sun-kissed tomatoes, for when they are out of season, is to slow roast them turning them into sun-blushed tomatoes which can be refrigerated for weeks. I absolutely love sun-blushed tomatoes. They are one condiment which are so convenient to have in the fridge. I love them chopped in a sandwich or wrap, I often throw a few into my soda bread and they can be added to any pasta dish. And of course they are perfect in a salad.
Sun Dried/Sun Blushed Tomatoes
1kg fresh, ripe tomatoes
1 tsp sea salt
Few grinds black pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/ fan 120°C/ gas mark 1.
2. Slice the tomatoes and place tightly together on a baking tray.
3. Sprinkle over the salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
4. Drizzle over the olive oil.
5. Place in the pre-heated oven for approximately 2 hrs. Checking after 1 ½ hours to ensure that they are not charring too much.
6. Use straight away, or allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge.