Everyone knows the best way to eat tomatoes - raw and freshly picked, ideally from your own garden. If you can resist the urge to devour them immediately, maybe you’ve tried them chopped with a sprinkle of salt and a dash of olive oil - a quick and delicious salad. Here are two more simple recipes that are slightly less common.
Tomato and lemon balm salad
This is a very quick and simple side salad with unexpected flavour combinations. You might never think of putting tomatoes and lemon balm together, but it works perfectly! Lemon balm is a perennial herb from the mint family that’s useful in the garden (it attracts bees), in the kitchen and as a medicinal herb. It has soothing and uplifting properties and because of its minty-lemony taste it is used in teas, lemonades, fruit dishes and even candies. Its lemony flavour comes from a chemical compound citronellal, and combined with sweetness of tomatoes it makes a very fresh and summery salad.
A handful of vine tomatoes or 1-2 big tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
A pinch of salt
About 10 leaves of lemon balm, chopped finely
1. Chop tomatoes
2. Add olive oil, sprinkle salt and mix in lemon verbena.
3. Leave to infuse for a couple of minutes. Lemon balm leaves will get more tender and will blend in with the salad.
Roasted tomatoes with thyme
Roasting tomatoes is probably the tastiest way to consume them. Not only that, but research has shown that cooking tomatoes actually increased its nutritional value, by boosting its antioxidant properties (however vitamin C content was lower after cooking). It’s also a good way of using up slightly mushy, soft tomatoes that are past their best. With piney-floral tastes thyme adds news layers to this dish.
1-2 handfuls of vine tomatoes or 2-3 average size tomatoes
A bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked (dry one will do too)
2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
A pinch of salt
1. Chop tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on the size. Mix in salt, thyme and oil.
2. Cook for 30 minutes on +180C in the oven.
Enjoy as a side dish, or own its own.
Vaida is food coordinator at Global Gardens and a food blogger at onesmallspoon.com