A book I had as a little girl had hand drawn pictures of tomatoes, little people growing them. I don’t think I can remember the story but the pictures still float in my minds eye – of children planting tomato seedlings, caring for it, watching it grow to give them over filled bushes of shiny red ripe tomatoes. The moral of the story, which I can still remember, was about learning to work and share together.
Baba always grows tomatoes, and by the end of the season Ma is furious with them. “Too much” she says, “what am I going to do with all this?”. He loves to grow vegetables. He likes to distribute them amongst relatives, friends, and whoever steps inside the Dass dwelling. The supply is so abundant that it becomes a dilemma, but that doesn’t deter Baba from growing more the next year. Can’t let them rot, can’t throw them out (because nothing gets thrown out): “do not make any more chutney”, “do not make any more tomato sauce please”, “can you stop putting tomatoes in everything?”
I have always loved tomatoes. From the woody herbal scent of the leaves to the sight of tiny little green balls growing and growing until they are rich, red, and juicy – ready to be plucked out and eaten. So I bought three cherry tomato plants this summer, totally in love with the idea of an overfilled basket of sweet cherry tomatoes at the end of summer. I was was contemplating a cherry tomato tart like Lynn Crawford or a cool rich tomato soup for the blog and I could always make a bit of chutney if I had some in excess. Three cherry tomato plants had to be on serious hormones to produce the amount of tomatoes I was dreaming about. But, anyway.
Then I forgot about them. Totally.
When I remembered, there they were, still waiting for me. A handful had fallen off the branches, rotten on the grass. The rest hanging on to dear life by the shrivelled dry branch. Baba would not be very proud of me and I probably didn’t remember to take good care of them. Moral of this story: Don’t count the tomatoes before they hatch. Also, just cause little people can grow tomatoes in story books doesn’t mean I can!
Roasted Cherry Tomato Caprese on Pastry
- Puff Pastry: I sheet
- Tomato: A handful of cherry tomatoes and a few larger sized
- Fresh Basil: 1 bunch
- Bocconcini: about 10-15 medium sized balls
- Aged Balsamic Vinegar: to taste
- Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons
- Salt and Pepper: to taste
- Preheat oven at 400 degree F.
- Unroll puff pastry and very lightly roll it or stretch it. Fold the sides to give it an edge.
- Bake puff pastry for 15-20 minutes or till it is cooked and becomes slightly golden in colour. Cool on wire and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for the roasted tomatoes.
- Slice the medium sized bocconcini balls. Set aside.
- Make thick slices of the slightly bigger tomatoes and keep the cherry tomatoes whole.
- In a baking dish arrange the sliced tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes. Drizle olive oil, and set them in the oven.
- Slow roast for 25-30 mins. Keep an eye on them.
- To arrange the salad, simply lay the basil on top of the pastry and arrange the fresh out of the oven roasted tomatoes alternating with the bocconcini slices. Season lightly with salt and whole cracked pepper.
- Drizzle some aged balsamic of choice. I used a fig balsamic.