Sunday, 3 October 2010

Green Tomatoes

We didn’t really bother growing tomatoes this year, but a surprising number grew of their own accord, presumably self seeding from tomato pips chucked into the compost.  They grew late in the summer and thrived remarkably, producing heavy vines laden with fat fruit.  Unfortunately the vines laden with fat fruit arrived just as summer departed, and they all stayed resolutely green and hard.  A lovely shade of green, to be sure, but green nevertheless.  Fortunately I do like a chutney, and, somehow, a green tomato chutney is just about the most satisfactory chutney of all.  Something about making a triumph out of failure I guess, if that’s not too grand a claim.
So I set aside today to make some chutney with the kilo or so of green tomatoes that I brought up from the garden a few days ago.  There had been a hope, probably an entirely forlorn one, that they might ripen indoors, but I have to say at least part of me was actively glad that they didn’t.  As well as the chutney – see the separate post below for the details of that – I used just three of the biggest, fattest tomatoes to make a tart for lunch.  First I sliced the tomatoes to about a pound coin’s thickness (or 3 or 4mm) and sliced up half a red onion lengthways, and dressed them both with salt, pepper, a light dusting of brown caster sugar, a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Then I rolled out some shop bought puff pastry (I know, but I really can’t be arsed, and shop bought is fine.  When I worked at the Rivington and was generally in charge of desserts making pastry, in industrial quantities was one of the jobs I hated most, along with making custard, oddly, and caramel, both of which are, in theory, incredibly simple to make, but both of which can, for no other reason than that they, presumably, hate you, simply refuse to co-operate.  Pastry doesn’t actively hate me, it’s simply very laborious) into a rectangle, laid some cut off pastry strips around the edges and baked it at 180 or so for about 10 minutes, to get the pastry stated, then took it back out and laid the tomatoes in an overlapping layer over it, with the onion scattered on top.  Whacked it back in the oven and baked for another 40 minutes or so.  It was sweet and delicious served with a simple salad of mixed leaves with celery, spring onion and capers, for a bit of additional sharp greenness.

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