Donal Ske­han’s taste of sum­mer

The Irish Times Magazine - - NEWS - DONAL SKE­HAN

While the weather may al­ways leave us with a lot to be de­sired, sum­mer’s bounty is plen­ti­ful and now is the time to savour it. I of­ten rec­om­mend that even the most dire toma­toes to be found in the depths of win­ter can be trans­formed into sweet lit­tle gems by roast­ing them in the oven.

Just as the method can trans­form lit­tle red bul­lets, you can imag­ine the re­sults us­ing some of the sum­mer’s finest fare – per­fect for the tar­tine recipe pro­vided here.

If I’m hon­est, with the right toma­toes, the process of roast­ing them may not even be nec­es­sary; in fact, diced and served with cool, creamy ri­cotta, they can be a sim­ple treat.

How­ever, the process of roast­ing will only in­ten­sify their sweet­ness, as the sug­ars caramelise in the oven, leav­ing you with ten­der toma­toes ready to be eaten as they are, or turned into the most glo­ri­ous and rich tomato sauce or soup you could ever dream up.

The ver­sa­til­ity of the toma­toes that emerge from the oven is key and I of­ten cite them as one of my core make- ahead in­gre­di­ents. Once stored in ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, they keep for weeks and can be added to pas­tas, used as sand­wich fill­ings or blitzed into a smooth roast tomato pesto.

In this recipe, though, they are the star and sit proudly atop a sum­mer tar­tine that re­lies solely on sim­plic­ity.

Many of my favourite sum­mer dishes, es­pe­cially those cooked over an open flame, rely on punchy sauces and mari­nades.

The plea­sures of piri piri sauce, a Por­tuguese clas­sic, go far be­yond the realms of fast- food chicken joints – the home­made va­ri­ety pro­vides the kick re­quired to am­plify the smokey tastes of the bar­be­cue seafood plat­ter here. Make a de­cent batch and it will last quite hap­pily in the fridge un­til your next ed­i­ble out­door ad­ven­ture.

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