This year I grew three types of tomato from seed in pots on my windowsill and then on my balcony. This recipe is for a competition with http://www.lovethegarden.com, so I am quite pleased that I’ve been able to rescue the last of my summer tomatoes! Gardener’s delight – fabulous smallish salad tomatoes that I couldn’t bear to cook with, tumbling toms which were quite dense, really tiny and probably the least successful and a variety of Italian plum tomatoes (San Marzano Nano) which I hoped would make me jars and jars of tomato sauce for winter. That didn’t quite happen, partly because I kept making mi-cuit tomatoes to go with salads…so, I’ve now used the last big batch to make a fresh tomato sauce. Plum tomatoes are a bit fleshier than salad tomatoes and can help to prevent that wateriness you get with home made tomato sauce sometimes. There’s just a few plum tomatoes left outside now…looking rather chilly out there!
Hake with smoked garlic, chili and fresh tomato sauce.
For the fresh tomato sauce
(makes enough for four or five portions)
1 medium onion
1 stick of celery chopped finely
8-10 smallish plum tomatoes edging toward over-ripe
3 or 4 oven dried plum tomatoes (or you could use some from a jar of sun dried tomatoes)
2 cloves smoked or normal garlic
Salt and Pepper to season
Gently stew the onion, celery and garlic in olive oil till the onions are translucent and just browning at the edges.
Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. You can do this very easily by putting them in a bowl and pouring over boiling water. After a minute, lift them out one by one and the skins will slide off.
Chop them up roughly. A purist would remove the seeds at this stage, but I’m afraid I never do. Well, not quite true, I would do for a dinner party, but generally, I don’t find them bitter and I quite like the nuttiness;)
Chop the dried tomatoes up into small pieces. I made mine a few weeks ago when I had a glut of tomatoes, and they just add a bit of depth of flavour and colour.
Add the tomato mixture to the pan and reduce it all down by about 25% so you have a thickish sauce, but with tomato pieces that are still visible. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I make this and then use it on pasta with a handful of olives and a little chili oil for lunch. But, since I’m entering this recipe into a competition, I wanted to show the sauce off at its best…and it’s a great complement for white fish.
To serve with Hake, Cod etc.
One fillet of fish per person
A little olive oil to fry
Smoked garlic chili oil, or regular chili oil
Flat leaf parsley
Take your fish fillet(s) and fry flesh side down for a minute, turn and fry skin side down for a minute. Drizzle a little chili oil on top of the fish before transferring into an oven at 170c for 10 minutes or until you can see the fish protein rising on the top of the fillets.
Put a layer of warm tomato sauce into a shallow bowl. Top with the fish, season with salt and pepper and garnish with flat leaf parsley
It may not be the most elegant dish in the world, but the tomato sauce is rich and really evocative of summer. I’ve deliberately steered away from adding lots of herbs because that way you get a perfect, rich tomato taste…and that’s what this dish is all about
Oh, and just a bit of a retro justification for leaving in the pips – I haven’t had a formal cookery training, and I stopped doing cookery at school when we had to choose between Latin and Home Economics! So, sometimes I may seem very ignorant. But, apparently there’s a fifth ‘flavour’ called Umami, and the bits of tomato that have the most Umani are the skin and the seeds. Now, I guess that’s also why we like adding mi-cuit tomatoes to sauces…they add back more Umami flavour…if you want to find out more there’s a good article here. See, I wasn’t just being lazy!!!;)