Does anyone, other than me, remember that film from the ‘80s Return of the Killer Tomatoes? It had George Clooney in it before he was GEORGE CLOONEY if you know what I mean. I had cause to think of it yesterday for some reason.
Last night getting tea I had reason to grill some tomatoes. I remembered that I’d seen Gordon Ramsey cooking on the vine tomatoes – on the vine and they looked just FABULOUS on the plate. B, who still does the shopping in a morning on the way home from work, always, at my insistence does his darnedest to get tomatoes on the vine. I don’t have many food foibles (I don’t think) but this is one – there’s more taste and you get the smell of the greenery which I love and always reminds me of my Dad growing them on his allotment (oh, how pretentious of me I mean, plot).
So with a view to them looking just FABULOUS on the plate, right next to the mash and sausage, and also because it was all of 30 seconds quicker than plucking them off and slicing them, after I’d washed them, I slapped then under the grill.
My error in judgement in saving those 30 seconds materialised in well, a number of ways.
There I was concentrating on how to arrange said tomatoes on the plate when I sniffed…
Sniff. ‘What’s that smell?’ – check pan handle, no that was fine.
Sniff, sniff. ‘That’s not the smell of cremating sausage.’
Sniff, sniff, sniff. ‘That’s not the smell of burning tomatoes.’
Sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff. ‘Ohhhhh, I wonder what burning tomato vines smell like?’
CLUNK – As penny drops.
Nearly but not quite on fire – kinda glowing! Press vine down so that it’s out of reach of flame. But remember they will still look FABULOUS on the plate.
B comes into the kitchen as I’m plating up…
B: ‘Why’ve you cooked them like that?’
Me: ‘Because they’ll look FABULOUS on the plate.’
B: ‘I have to pick them off – myself?’
Me: ‘Well yes, but they’ll look FABULOUS on the plate before you do.’
B: ‘I don’t know about that.’ Anything that increases B having to fiddle about with the food on this plate before he can eat it – not a good idea – I knew this – I did. But remember ‘FABULOUS on the plate’!
Me: ‘Do you just want the tomatoes?’
B: ‘Yes!’ or rather ‘YES! For the love of humanity why would I want something that I can’t eat on my plate and that you could so easily have removed before cooking and whilst you were at it spent 30 seconds slicing so I don’t have to risk them exploding all over the show?’
Do you know how hard it is to get a cooked tomato off a crispy vine? I do, its hard, its really, really hard. Well its really, really hard if you want them to look FABULOUS on the plate! If you want them to devolve to their base elements – skin, flesh, seeds and water – AND still be hot it’s easy, really, really easy!
Note to self – add tinned tomatoes to shopping list