Tomatoes stewed in olive oil

A typically simple dish from the Roux brothers, one where the ingredients “ont le gout de ce qu’ils sont”, as Curnonsky said. You need proper ripe tomatoes for this, and the best olive oil you can lay your hands on (I used the last of our designer Tuscan oil). It requires no last-minute attention and can be served hot or at room temperature, so it’s good for entertaining.

Serve with grilled or roast meat, or just on their own, with good bread to mop up the juice. Keep any left-over juice to add to salad dressings or sauces.

Source: the Roux brothers’ French Country Cooking.

1 kg ripe tomatoes, peeled
150 ml good olive oil
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
A bouquet garni made of thyme, bay leaf and basil
salt and pepper
fresh basil or parsley to garnish

Put the olive oil, garlic and bouquet garni in an earthenware pot and heat gently for a couple of minutes. Then add the peeled whole tomatoes, season, cover, and cook very gently for half an hour. Then turn each tomato over carefully and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes. The tomatoes should be soft but must stay whole.

Discard the bouquet and the garlic and sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil just before serving.

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