Last week we had an overabundance of tomatoes that I’d picked from our plants. After several days of using tomatoes in all sorts of salads I decided to cook the rest. The result was a delicious sauce that I used as a base for several dinners – with grilled aubergines and courgettes, another with pan fried blue cod and then last night with mussels. Each time I started with the tomato base and then added different ingredients to suit the dish. The quantities for each of the following ingredients are up to you.
- Ingredients (serves 2):
- 5-6 medium size tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp honey or sugar
- Pinch of chili flakes
- Culleys smoked salt (available at Saturday market)
- 2 tsps ground cumin
- Olive oil
- White wine
- Freshly ground pepper
- Chopped fresh coriander including stalks
- Mussels, beards removed and scrubbed
Place the chopped tomatoes and garlic in a pot, lid on, on the stove top. Depending on how juicy the tomatoes are you may need to add a little water. Keeping the heat low to medium, stir the tomatoes occasionally until they start to release liquid. Leave the tomatoes to simmer for about 45-60 minutes. If it becomes too thick add white wine or water. Cool a little and then blend till smooth. It needs to be the consistency of a thick soup.
Add the seasonings – smoked salt, honey, chili flakes, ground cumin, a good slash of olive oil, pepper and at least half the coriander particularly the chopped stalks. Simmer all for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if it’s too thick. Taste and adjust the seasonings as you desire.
While the tomato mix is simmering, steam open the mussels in a little water and/or white wine. Once open, remove the mussels and strain the liquid to remove any grit. Add the liquid to the tomato mix. Stir and then add the mussels and half of the remaining coriander. Make sure the mussels are all coated in the sauce and warmed through.
Serve in bowls and sprinkle with the rest of the coriander. You’ll need plenty of fresh bread to soak up the sauce.