Our kitchen garden cook reveals her favourite recipes with tomatoes.
I love that homegrown tomatoes are more delicious and interesting to look at than the perfectly colour- and size-matched supermarket ones. I find the mixture of flavours from different varieties creates a depth in dishes that is otherwise unachievable
Barbecued mackerel with chilli-pesto drizzle and heirloom-tomato orzo salad (serves 6)
6 whole mackerel, gutted
100g fresh pesto
2 red chillies
20ml olive oil
500g heirloom tomatoes
100g soya beans
A handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
A scattering of edible flowers, such as violas (optional)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
20ml olive oil
15ml apple-cider vinegar
1 clove crushed garlic
500g orzo pasta
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and pour in the orzo, simmering until tender about eight minutes. Drain and run the pasta under cold water, then drizzle with olive oil to prevent it sticking and set aside.
Cut the tomatoes into bite-size pieces and place them in a bowl. Blanch the soya beans in boiling water and drain before adding them to the tomatoes. Add the chopped red onion, capers, basil, seasoning and finally pour in the orzo. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the pasta. Put into a large serving bowl and decorate with the edible flowers.
On a board, cut a few lines down each side of the mackerel that don’t go as deep as the bones. Light your barbecue and, once the flames have died and you’re left with hot coals, place the whole mackerel onto an olive-oil-brushed grill. Cook for about six minutes on each side or until you can see that the fish looks cooked and the eyes are cloudy.
Mix together the pesto, olive oil and chopped chilli and spoon it over the fish. Serve the fish and salad together with salad leaves and some fresh bread.
Ways with tomatoes
Sun-blushed tomato salad
Split 250g baby plum tomatoes. Place half of them on a baking sheet and set aside the others. Drizzle olive oil over those on the baking sheet and sprinkle a little caster sugar over them before placing in a moderate oven for 15 minutes. Once ‘sun blushed’, add to the other tomatoes along with two finely sliced spring onions, fresh basil, toasted pine nuts and shreds of mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon and serve with ciabatta.
Whole picnic sandwich bread
Slice the top off a loaf of round artisan bread. Scoop out most of the dough centre and then fill with layers of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, cooked chicken, avocado, a drizzle of pesto, more lettuce and a drizzle of vinaigrette. Season each layer well and then press the top back on. Use a plate to hold it firmly in place and refrigerate for several hours. To serve, cut into wedges at your picnic.
Bloody Mary and crab soup
This is a raw soup, so simply add the following to your blender: 6 large tomatoes, half a cucumber, 1 red onion, juice of 1 lemon, 3tbspn olive oil, a handful fresh basil and parsley, 1 red pepper, a splash of vodka (optional), 1tspn of Tabasco and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. Pulse and divide between bowls. Add a heaped spoonful of white crabmeat to the centre of each and then serve.