H is for heirloom tomatoes
Normal tomatoes and me are great friends. I could happily champ my way through a box of cherry tomatoes like they were sweets. But heirloom tomatoes? Not so much. Aren't they just tomatoes with delusions of grandeur and a whacking great price tag?
But when I saw a great big pile of these bad boys down at Borough Market, I knew I had to take them home and cook them up. Did you ever see a prettier bunch of veggies? (Yeah, I know they're fruit really, but I've never put them in a fruit salad yet!)
But what do with them? Luckily, a few ingredients on the turn in the back of the fridge gave me some inspiration and I decided to keep things simple with a creamy sauce and a gratin topping.
This is something of loose recipe, and as it wasn't quite there, I leave it in your hands to fix up.
Heirloom tomato gratin
500-600g of heirloom tomatoes
One large white onion, finely chopped
Two cloves of garlic, sliced
Vegan cream equivalent (I used Alpro single cream)
Pinches of celery salt, sugar, and white pepper
25g of pine nuts
One or two slices of bread
How you do it
Switch your oven on to 200C.
Fry the onion in generous amounts of vegan margarine for 10 minutes or so, or until soft. Add garlic
and cook for another couple of minutes.
While that's cooking, slice the tomatoes into thick, 2cm slices.
Find a large Pyrex dish, and spread half the slices over the bottom in one layer.
Sprinkle a pinch of celery salt and sugar on top, then grind over lots of white pepper.
Get a spring or two of basil, and tear the leaves over the top.
Once the onion and garlic is cooked, spread that over the top of the tomatoes too.
Put the other half of the tomato slices over the top, then repeat with the celery salt, sugar, white pepper and another spring or two of basil.
Pour over as much cream as you fancy - you don't need it coming to the top, a little over half way should do it.
Bake for 15 minutes.
While that's on the go, use a blender or similar and turn the bread and pine nuts into crumbs.
Once the 15 minutes is up, spread the pine nuts and bread crumbs over the top, and bake for 15 minutes more.