I did it. I found a home for all our tomatoes – at least all our tomatoes so far.
We put in six tomato plants this year and somehow – they exploded.
The cherry tomato plants which were supposed to reach a maximum height of 6o inches – grew over the top of the fence – which is 8 feet tall. That’s 96 inches or almost 2 and 1/2 metres tall if you think in metric. They produced so many tomatoes that the ground below them is constantly littered and still I get a colander full each day.
The regular tomato plants, all picked out deliberately and carefully with much thought about their different attributes, (Early Girls, Beef Steaks, and a heritage variety supposed to be wonderful for cooking) all turned out to be exactly the same kind. They too produced prolifically and the plants are still hanging with green tomatoes.
For the past two months, I’ve made a concerted effort to eat, cook, and give away tomatoes. We’ve eaten tomato sandwiches, made spaghetti sauce for winter, and made my own oven-dried tomatoes. I’ve experimented with a whole load of recipes. But the single best tomato dish I’ve ever tried is this one – baked cherry tomatoes and feta.
I saw a baked tomato and chèvre dish on a local restaurant menu. I didn’t order it because I was already drowning in tomatoes at home and frankly needed a break from them. But the next night, I tried making my own version based on what I’d seen on the menu. I didn’t have any chèvre on hand but I had a tub of feta and it needed using. The first time I made it I served it for a light weeknight supper with just olive and rosemary sourdough bread. It would make a fantastic bruschetta topping and I imagine it would be amazing on a pizza crust too. This weekend I served it with salmon. It’s wonderfully and intensely flavourful and a perfect way to serve up cherry tomatoes, even if you’re not drowning in them.
Baked Cherry Tomatoes and Feta
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or not
200 grams feta, crumbled
10 spicy green olives, or use black olives, or whatever olives you like, pitted
handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. chilli flakes
ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a one-litre oven proof dish.
Sauté the onion in the olive oil until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute or two. Dump in the cherry tomatoes, olives, chilli flakes and crumbled feta. Transfer to an oven dish. Sprinkle with basil and black pepper. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot with crusty bread, etc.