A glut of overripe tomatoes.
If you are lucky enough to experience a glut of your own growing – or just have a load of overripe tomatoes winking their blue-fluffed eyes at you from some fetid corner, then rather than making chutney (my larder groans with last year’s offering) I recommend a really good tomato sauce.
A good tomato sauce is a wonderful thing: made properly (and SLOWLY) the tomatoes yield all their umami-rich flavours – sour, sweet and salty all at once. The perfect thing to toss through pasta, dollop into stews, pour over grilled aubergines/courgettes, or serve warm alongside whole baked ricotta.
1 kg overripe tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
The olive oil is a key component in contributing to the rich flavour of the finished sauce – so don’t be stingy!
Slice the garlic very thinly, then pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pan (a Le Creuset is best). Fry the garlic in the oil until just turning golden. If you wish to add herbs, then Bay, Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme are all good options, but I like mine pure and simple – that way you can use it as a base for whatever you like. Throw in the tomatoes (roughly chopped) along with a good pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper. Put the lid on the pot and simmer gently for up to 4 hours. The longer and slower, the better. The final sauce should be deliciously rich and tangy. Pour into a clean jar. Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or can be frozen.