Food For Thought – Tomato-polooza!

Img_2276 This week on Food For Thought, I take part in a tomato potluck dinner, where even the desserts were made with this delectable fruit.  To listen to the mini-documentary about the dinner in streaming RealAudio, click here. 

Did you know there are probably about 5000 different varieties of tomatoes?  Of course not all of them will grow in your particular terroir or climate, but a lot of people have fun experimenting.  And at the dinner people really had fun experimenting with tomato dishes.

Img_2283 Here is Mara Jernigan from Fairburn Farm putting together her dish, which was a yellow cherry tomato sorbet served with a slice of raw albacore tuna.  Excellent!  Most of the people at this dinner, wonderfully hosted by Nick Versteeg of DV Cuisine at his house in Glenora, were members of the Vancouver Island Slow Food Convivium.  The chapter website is still under construction, but you can join the mailing list, and if you need more info, you can always visit the Slow Food Canada website.

I mentioned my roasted cherry tomato soup on Food For Thought.  Here’s the recipe base, which can be used as a bruschetta-like topping, or pureed and strained to become soup:

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe can be done on the barbecue or in your oven.  For a different treat, puree the tomatoes after you’ve roasted them, strain out the skins and seeds, and serve warm or cold as a small soup appetizer. (I use tiny espresso cups for a good serving presentation)

Ingredients:

2 pounds ripe cherry tomatoes (various colours if possible)

2 large sprigs fresh rosemary

4 large sprigs fresh thyme

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup chopped fresh basil

4 cloves chopped fresh garlic (optional)

Toasted slices of baguette, rubbed with garlic

Fresh goat cheese, or fromage frais. (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400F.  Or heat your gas barbecue on one side only. Line a baking dish or large pan with parchment paper. Add the cherry tomatoes, whole, and nestle the rosemary and thyme around them.  Add salt and pepper; then drizzle with olive oil. 

Roast in oven or place on indirect heat on the barbecue for about half an hour, or until tomatoes start to split and collapse a bit, giving up their juices.  Pour into a serving dish and stir in the chopped, fresh basil while the tomatoes are still hot.  To serve, spread some cheese on the baguette slices if desired, then top with the tomato mixture.

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