Why struggle to find the words to tell you how sweet and flavoursome these tomatoes were when this image is eloquent in itself? Their colour has not been given the Photoshop steroid treatment; looking at it, like the originals, may produce the sensation of synaesthesia in other words you may almost taste them.
Buying vegetables from the various farm shops and roadside stalls on the Gower suits our current routine and is the next best thing to growing one self, possibly better as it is clearly expertly done. Individually, Eastern Farm, Oldwalls; Tyle Farm, Burry Green and Burry Farm, Burry (a slight shortage of names to share between that last two) are all very different in character but collectively provide a potluck of flavoursome ingredients – recent carrots were as orange as a ‘hi-vis’ vest and tasted very sweet as did the ruby red beetroot.
With a glut of tomatoes singing with flavour I had to improvise fast. There’s always an attraction in dishes with a strong contrast in colour, flavour and texture. There are several dishes I cook that combine a rich tomato base with a pure, clean, white fish. Hake on top of a rich tomato source came I think from a Spanish source, perhaps Galician (as we are learning the concept of national ‘Mediterranean’ cuisines are a product of modern post-war marketing). Galicians, like the Welsh – their fellow North Atlantic seaboarders – are keen on the fish.
In the upshot, line caught North Atlantic cod loin was available and was so fresh it was still stiff. The sauce is basically a fairly hearty one starting with a base of onions and garlic softened in olive oil. The tomatoes were too small to be peeled but these thin-skinned greenhouse specimens could be stewed until the skins could not offend the fussiest eater. To enrich the flavour? The Spanish-sourced suggestion I used here was to add a good slug of sherry. Sometimes I add a little sugar to help get over too much acidity in the tomatoes, or if white wine is substituted for the fortified type. This time I, impetuous, pushed the boat out and added the zest of an orange at the beginning of cooking. Both orange and wine get deliciously incorporated in the whole by the end of cooking. But we’re not quite finished; shortly before serving I put the fish on top the seething sauce and firmly place the lid on the pan. Simple – but little patience is needed to wait and assess when the fish is cooked through ; steamed in the hot vapours. (Not too difficult for cod as is flesh begins to separate into the constituent large flakes.) The result is virginal white fish on a devilishly rich source. No pic I’m afraid; I try next time – I’m still new to this blog game and it takes a while to remember to photograph everything I eat.
Too much to eat in one night, I knew that it would not heat up well for next day; the solution was to liquidise it, diluting the rich sauce down a little, and serve it up as soup for lunch. I suppose it was similar to the soup base of a bouillabaisse and it made everyone happy; and when everyone is happy, I’m happy.
One interesting phenomenon is occurring while we benefit from this very good veg. There is less waste as the tasty leftovers from one night aren’t composted as is routinely is the case but are made into salads for lunch next day with the help of some piquant herbs, a little dressing of oil and, perhaps, a little Yotam Ottolenghi’s lemon myrtle salt – plunder from a recent trip to the Great Wen. Good quality food promotes less waste? – discuss. (It certainly is dependent on the system, the super fresh cod I used was crazily displayed in the supermarket ‘trash’ chiller for less than £1).
Reduction of waste and voluntary collective action was on show at a City supermarket recently. Times are tough for many people and going to get tougher, while we enjoy our peripatetic version of the Marie Antoinette/Petit Trianon rural fantasy there are those that are in reoccurring trouble. Helping a charity like Foodbank can be directly useful; while at their stall it was good to see that the volunteers had been snowed under with donations.
OK class dismissed.