Regular readers will know that I'm a staunch supporter of making the most of things. If there's even a small amount of food (and sometimes other things) leftover I will find something tasty to do with it. Sometimes though, you don't have leftovers, and you have to raid your store cupboard for inspiration. But the contents of your cupboard might not always be inspiring. Not to worry. Here's some ideas for using the humble tinned tomato.
Stuff to do with the juice
- Italian sauce base. It's the absolute essential ingredient for any kind of pasta sauce, from a simple pomodoro to puttanesca. You can add almost anything to it, but you must have garlic, black pepper and herbs (basil, oregano, thyme) as a minimum. Then you can put in whatever else you fancy.
- Pizza topping. If you drain the tomatoes first you can make a much thicker 'sauce' that's perfect for a pizza. Remember to keep the juice because it has lots of uses itself.
- Salsa. Drain the tomatoes and reserve the juice for another dish. Add chilli flakes or finely chopped fresh chilli, a squeeze of lime juice, chopped leaf coriander, and crushed garlic.
- Nacho sauce. Make some salsa. Tip a pack of nacho chips into a heat-proof bowl. Pour the salsa over them and top with grated cheese. Grill until the cheese melts. Enjoy!
- Vegetable pie. Drain the tomatoes and reserve the juice for another dish. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add mixed cooked vegetables. Whatever you have. Pile the lot into an oven-proof dish and sprinkle breadcrumbs and grated cheese over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200C, until the top turns brown and crunchy.
- On toast. It's a simple but tasty, easy-to-prepare meal. If you add grated cheese it's even nicer!
- Pizza toasts. Use the pizza topping, as above, but don't bother with the hassle of making bases. Use thick toast or French bread.
Stuff to do with the juice
- Drink it. Some people like tomato juice as a drink. It's full of vitamins and very good for you. Spice it up with celery salt, black pepper, a splash of tabasco.
- Bloody Mary. That's tomato juice with added vodka!
- Soup. You can make great tomato-based soups by simmering the juice with some vegetables and herbs, then thickening the resultant mixture with some cornflour and cold water.
- Vegetable stew. Make a nice thick soup and add pasta shapes about 10-15 minutes before you thicken it. Chunks of potato work too!
- As an ingredient. Add to any meat-based casserole for added depth of flavour.
- For cleaning. Honestly. You can clean copper with it - but not too often or you'll dissolve your copper away. Tomato juice is very acidic and cleans the grot off copper and brass quite easily if you apply it with a cloth. Try a small area of the item first though, preferably where it doesn't show.
- To deal with skunk spray. Apparently it's a myth. The tomato smell disguises the skunk smell but doesn't actually remove it.