My fellow Gastronomers will remember that I extolled the virtues of Sun-blushed Tomatoes in my Focaccia Recipe, but I know they aren’t easy to find, even in relatively good Delis. That gave me a mission! I asked around several good cooks of my acquaintance and one finally turned up trumps with this simple recipe.
About 30 small RIPE cherry tomatoes [A good tip is to look out for reduced price punnets near their sell-by dates in Supermarkets or better still at the end of the day in your local market. These have usually just got to the fully ripe state. Don’t buy ‘ Cherry Tomatoes on the Vine’, they are ridiculously expensive, and what do the others grow on for heavens sake!!]; 2 level tsp sea salt; 1/2 level tsp demerara sugar; 1 heaped tsp dried oregano [lemon thyme works well too]; 3 generous tbsp good Olive Oil.
English: Super Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pre-heat the oven to 200-220 degrees C, 180-190 if a fan oven. Halve the tomatoes and set them out close together, cut face uppermost, on a baking tray. With the Olive Oil in a small bowl mix in the salt and sugar. When dissolved add the dried oregano. Carefully pour the mixture onto the tomato halves ensuring that each has its share. Carefully place the tray in the upper part of the oven, check it’s up to temperature, then turn it off!
Leave the tomatoes in there all day, or prepare them in the evening and leave overnight if you anticipate needing the oven during the day. When they are cooled you can [if you think they’ll last that long!!] put them in clean jam or olive jars and drizzle over them another tbsp of your Olive Oil for each jar.
A good idea is to make a nice ‘Rustic’ tag and tie it on to the jar, then you’ve the perfect thing to take to any ‘Foodie’ friend the next time you’re invited there for lunch or supper!
If you have a lovely local Italian Deli where they bake their own and you can buy it warm and soft – Buy it and support them! If however you don’t…………….or it’s a Sunday & they’re closed and if overpriced, flabby, supermarket pap is your only alternative – Bake it yourself! It’s easy and delicious with that wonderful feeling – I made this! All it takes is a little time.
Don’t ever make the mistake of using anything other than the best ingredients you can find. This doesn’t mean paying the earth. Sometimes it just means getting up off your backside and going to a market or finding a good deli. Balzano’s Deli in Cambridge for instance has wonderful Sun-blushed tomatoes and lovely Olives, and Seafood, and Prosciutto, and, and, and…………..
Ingredients for 1. ‘Course while you’re at it you could make two or three………
12 oz [350 g] Good quality strong white bread flour; 1/2 tsp sea salt; 1 tsp thyme; 2 tbsp good Olive Oil; 200 ml warm water; 1 tsp yeast. 4/5 pitted & halved black olives; 6 sun-dried or sun-blushed tomatoes [a wonderful treat if you can find them locally.]
Mix the flour, salt & thyme well together in a large mixing bowl. Crumb the oil into the mix. Stir the yeast into the warm water and mix that in too. Knead it together, not too vigorously, then cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for 2 hours.
Turn on to a floured surface, lightly knead again, then flatten and spread to an oval shape and put onto a oiled baking sheet. No thinner than 1/2 “. Arrange your olives and tomatoes on the surface, and leave in that warm place for 45 mins to rise further. When risen indent all over with your fingers [my favourite bit!] and drizzle a little Olive Oil and sprinkle a little salt. Pre-heat the oven to 180 [170 if a fan oven] and bake for 35/40 mins. It’s done when golden-brown and slightly hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. A bit like me really………………………..
Serve with a Green Salad and/or Antipasti.