In keeping up with the current theme of using what’s left over in the garden (and it may be nearly January, but thanks to this rather mild late autumn we were having, for which I have been extremely grateful, whilst remembering sitting outside of businesses in my car in -7 degree weather waiting for interviews last year… ahem, there’s still a little bit of life in there), we finally made the decision / realisation a few weeks ago, that it was time to finish off the tomatoes.
Now, we had an insane number of tomato plants this year – tumbling ones. Entirely due to my mother-in-law. Not sure if I should thank her and encourage this again… I did attempt to rear 25 plants one year – it was the first of the really wet summers, however, and I got tomato rot and didn’t get a single one 😦
That aside, after picking off all the tomatoes, this is what we were left with:
At first, I thought I’d just try to eat them as they were – never really tried it before, but they’re not part of the nightshade family or anything, and other people have cooked with them and survived, so I gave it a go. They were fantastic on the first day – just popped them in my mouth as a snack – straight. Tried it again the next day, thinking I’d fallen upon an exceptionally healthy, free snack. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Too much acid in the tomatoes to really eat them this way. My tummy and I were not particularly pleased with the result.
So then I thought I might ripen them a bit. so they went like this for a week:
That worked reasonably well – certainly more red and yellow in there than green by the week’s end.
So on the weekend, after considering a number of potential recipe ideas, I decided to be brave and use them in a savory dish. We love our pies, and I figured, after Hester at Alchemy in the Kitchen posted a lovely green tomato and gooseberry pie (http://www.alchemyinthekitchen.ie/), that I would give it a try.
I asked Hester if it would be okay to just go all tomato, as my husband has a fear of gooseberries (something to do with his childhood – I think it’s best not to ask…), and she wisely advised me that something was needed to temper the flavour. Indeed, as I was popping them into my mouth raw, I thought they would have been amazing with plenty of mozzarella or a queso fresco (not widely available in the UK…). So I thought I would kind of go there.
Realising quite how tart the tomatoes were, I figured I would roast them first, to bring out the sweetness – and not skimp on the oil (for a change). They did smell divine whilst cooking – alas, smell and flavour disconnect again…
As ever, this came together on a bit of a spur of the moment day, so I went with what I had in my kitchen, as opposed to what would have tasted best. So here’s a recipe not to try – take my word on it.
Sour Green Tomato Tart
For the crust:
250 g fine cornmeal
125g cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg yolk
a bit of cold water as necessary
- Grease tart or cake tin (I used a springform pan as this is what I had)
- Add cornmeal and butter into a bowl and rub together until fine crumbs form
- Add egg and continue to mix until a dough forms – add water slowly to help form the dough as necessary
- Knead dough briefly if possible. Cornmeal doesn’t work like a flour, so it may be a bit crumbly
- Put dough into pan and press out to form a crust – the cornmeal will not roll out. Use a heavy glass to smooth into corners and avoid an overly thick crust.
- Prick the base with a fork and leave to chill for 30 minutes.
- Cover in baking paper and add ceramic beans and bake for 20 minutes at 200C
- Leave to cool slightly before adding filling
- 4-6 cups of cherry tomatoes – green
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 TBSP oil
- 3 yellow peppers, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 c milk
- 1/2 c cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200C, if not already warm from crust
- Mix tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper and oil in zip loc bag and toss about to combine flavours
- Spread tomatoes onto roasting pan and roast for about 20 minutes
- Whilst tomatoes are cooking, soften onion and pepper by placing in the microwave, covered, for 5 minutes
- Add tomatoes to pepper and onion, then add eggs and milk and mix well.
- Pour into crust
- Top with cheese
- Bake at 200C for 20-25 minutes, until filling is set
- Slice and wince.
Things I would do differently:
- Obviously, far fewer green tomatoes – a few might have added a nice punch, but not sooo many. This would have been really nice with red tomatoes or anything else really – lesson learned!
- The cornmeal crust was nice, but a bit too crumbly – I think it could have used another egg to help it bind, and probably been a bit wetter – would maybe cook it as polenta first
- More cheese – I just used what I had to hand, and that was all we had – more cheese would have helped temper the flavour a bit more