You say tomato ...

By Amanda Laird

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However you say it, we all love them.

A gorgeous crop of tomatoes in the backyard will do wonders with the variety of dishes you can serve up with them. Photo / Babiche Martens
A gorgeous crop of tomatoes in the backyard will do wonders with the variety of dishes you can serve up with them. Photo / Babiche Martens

Plump tomatoes on the vine, ripened in the sun, is a sign of summer we take for granted. A small spot in the garden or a large container of dirt on the deck is all that is needed to produce a gorgeous crop. Right now, of course, is the best time to enjoy their sweet flavour; simply perfect sliced on warm, buttered toast for breakfast with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and pepper.

From big, fat oxheart tomatoes to roma, pretty little red and yellow cherries, plum tomatoes and the ever-increasing variety of heirloom - we are spoilt for choice and can choose the right tomato for each recipe.

Oxheart and beef tomatoes are suited to sauce-making and slow cooking because of their rich flavour. They also make good passata or tomato sauce.

Cherry, plum and grape tomatoes have a lovely sweet flavour and are perfect in salads and also good thrown on to the grill for a moment or two before adding to a plate.

Today we braise tomatoes in olive oil, which makes for a delicious supper on toast, a nice breakfast option or a side to pair with fish or meat on the barbie. Small veal meatballs, baked with passata poured over, then served with plenty of basil and some fine spaghetti provides a tasty and popular dinner.

The third recipe is for a type of raw fish salad but I have omitted the coconut cream and marinated the fish in fresh lime juice and dill. Adding generous amounts of different varieties of cherry tomatoes gives colour and flavour. Marinate this salad for at least six hours before serving to allow the flavours to develop.

Chef's tip

Look out for the beautiful and full of flavour dark red, acid-free tomatoes if you are sensitive to the acid content in the more common tomato varieties. Although I do enjoy chilled tomato slices on a hot day, ideally they should be kept out of the fridge to be able to enjoy their utmost flavour.

- NZ Herald

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