“‘Virgin’, ‘bloody’ or simply in a salad – tomatoes are tip top says Joanna of Lardersaga Laden with goodies – the happy drug ‘serotonin’, vitamin A, and probably countless other things these fruit are just about to hit their hey day! I have always been a complete tomato snob, totally seduced by the wickedly intense scarlet ones I have recently been introduced to heirloom/ heritage varieties coming in an assortment of green, yellow and stripes!
Good tomatoes can be bought almost anywhere now, ‘Andreas’ has a fabulous array – mostly from Italy coming in all shapes, colors, tastes and sizes, actually he is well worth a visit just to check out his other heavenly produce. The joy about good tomatoes is that the flavour shines through – so there is no need to do much to them.
Joanna has not only told WW where to buy the best tomatoes but has suggested two recipes – a deliciously simple salad and a chilled summer soup, which makes for a good alternative to gazpacho
A few tomato tricks and where to buy:
Never, ever store them in the fridge – their flavour gets tortured!
Try and buy organic, heritage, heirloom varieties – The Tomato Stall – has a wonderful selection – they have stores at most Farmers Markets in London.
‘Andreas’, Chelsea Green, Turnham Green (will deliver) – has an extensive choice of mainly Italian varieties, Daylesford is also good, as are most supermarkets.
Two super easy tomato recipes:
Tomato and Beetroot Salad
1 bunch of red beetroot (or golden or both as in picture above)
250g of mixed heirloom tomatoes or just very good vine ripened cherry tomatoes
Seasonal leaves, rocket, watercress, baby mustard leaf, marjoram
200g Fresh ricotta or fresh goats cheese (Windrush goats cheese is particularly good)
Olive oil, salt and pepper, splash of Balsamic vinegar
This hardly warrants a description but for those in fear of the kitchen here goes:
Cook the beetroot – either in a pan of water until tender or roast it in the oven. Cut into sensible bite size chunks. Toss with olive oil salt and pepper.
Halve or quarter the tomatoes and mix with the cut beetroot, mixed leaves, crumble the cheese on top and dress with a little more oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, good grind of black pepper and pinch of Maldon sea salt and hey presto the easiest salad ever!
Roasted Tomato Soup with Mascarpone
This recipe is adapted from “Today’s Special: A New Take on Bistro Food” by Anthony Demetre (Quadrille)and is quite sublime and is a real favourite of mine. Something about the unusual marriage of tomatoes and anchovies makes the flavour incredibly intense but it is balanced perfectly by the mascarpone. Do try it as it is really quite addictive!
1.kg plum tomatoes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 good quality anchovy fillets
8-12 teaspoonfuls of mascarpone
Pre-heat the oven to 150C/gas mark 6
Chop the tomatoes in half and scatter with salt, pepper, chilli flakes and fennel seeds and pop in an oven at 150 for 30 minutes.
In a separate pan, cook off the onion and the garlic, when melted down add the anchovies.
Now add the tomatoes and all their juices and a good splosh of olive oil. Cook for a further 15 minutes and then let cool.
Transfer to a liquidiser and when cool – pulp to a consistency you like – it can be quite chunky or silky smooth.
Re-heat and dot with mascarpone and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.