Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Monster tomato vine.

The tomatoes are over the fence. Ignore all the mythology about growing tomatoes. You just need four things: sunshine, water, air and nutrients. Air meaning pinch out the lower limbs as the plant grows taller. This season I grew a cherry tomato, Tommy Toe, in the old compost-filled ex-laundry trough on the east side of the garden, so it gets the westering afternoon sun. It is now above the fence line and I have tied its upper canopy to the unroofed pergola. That's eight feet of tomato vine. It has yielded hundreds and more are still coming thanks to a fortnight of unbroken sun.

So, into the salads with fetta and olives; chopped with basil onto olive-oiled crusty bread; and into pasta dishes, such as:

Gnocchi with ricotta and cherry tomatoes.

Boil four medium peeled and chopped potatoes until soft. Mash thoroughly, make a crater in the mound on a floured breadboard and tip in an egg, three-quarters of a cup of flour and some chopped basil. Hand mix and then roll out the dough to make cylinders. Chop into one-inch sections, make fork impressions if you wish, and transfer the sections to a lightly-buttered and floured tray.

Drop gnocchi into boiling water in a large pot and wait until they rise to the surface, then scoop them out using a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, press a cut garlic clove into serving dishes; add the gnocchi and top with tomatoes, either whole or sliced in two (I like them whole but the unwary diner can squirt juice clear across a table when biting into them), ricotta, a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of extra chopped basil and parsley. Crack pepper over the lot. Finish off with grated parmesan.

1 comment:

Dr. Alice said...

I prefer to cut cherry tomatoes in half. Although a kamikaze tomato can certainly add some zing to dinnertime. There's nothing like homegrown tomatoes; yours sound delicious.