With that flat of tomatoes we picked up at the CSA, we knew that we’d be eating a lot of tomato dishes. This is okay, because we’ve picked up a number of tomato recipes we’ve been wanting to test here in the Scratchin’ Central Kitchen. We didn’t have the cherry tomatoes originally called for in this dish, but we felt that some of the smallest plum tomatoes would stand in admirably, so we just went ahead and scratched it up.
We found this recipe in River Cottage Veg, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, oh, probably sometime late fall last year. We knew we’d want to try it out, but we wanted to wait until we had good tomatoes. The kind that are really ripened on the vine, and not treated with ethylene gas to make them turn red whilst leaving them hard as rocks.
As an aside, we remember driving through the central valley of California one summer and we would regularly see the equivalent of dump trucks hauling tomatoes. Full of tomatoes. No packaging, just tomatoes loaded in the back. Think about that. Do you really want a tomato that can stand up to being hauled in trucks by the ton? Yes, that’s why we try to get real tomatoes from our CSA or the farmers’ markets.
While we didn’t use them, we think that cherry tomatoes are the best choice. If we had cherry tomatoes — especially a mix of colors and shapes — on hand, we would have used them, but, we did as most scratchers do, and used what we had. Ideally, we’d use local honey too, but we haven’t yet found a new source here in Tucson.
Procedure in detail:
Not really sure how much detail this recipe needs, but humor us.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil an 8×8 inch baking dish.
Slice tomatoes. Slice each tomato in half and place cut side up in the prepared pan. Placing it with the cut side up will help hold in the juices, plus some of the honey mixture that will be going on just before baking.
Make honey glaze. We find that the easiest way of crushing garlic is to chop it, then put it into a small bowl with a bit of salt and crush it with the back of a spoon. Since this recipe calls for garlic and salt, we just used a small mixing bowl, crushed the garlic with the salt, then added everything else and gave it a quick whisking. Another trick we use is just to dip a small (clean) whisk into the honey and allow the honey to drain off until there’s only about a tablespoon remaining. Then we use that whisk for mixing.
Pour over tomatoes. Now, either spoon or drizzle the honey glaze over the tomatoes, trying to get some glaze on each tomato half.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake until bubbling and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.
We liked these well enough as a side, but they were lacking a little something, as they didn’t really stand out as anything special. Perhaps they would have been better with cherry tomatoes, but we aren’t sure that would have moved this dish into the “great” category. We think that garlic was, perhaps, a wrong choice to go along with the honey, as it was slightly disconcerting to taste garlic and honey at the same time. We think that a better choice might have been rosemary or thyme, or perhaps even a bit of balsamic vinegar. So we’ll say three stars.