Thyme is a perennial - a pungent woody herb with more varieties than you can count. The common Garden Thyme is the most popular, with probably lemon thyme coming in second. Thyme has been used as a therapeutic product - it can aid digestion & fights coughs and intestinal parasites. It's active ingredient is used in products such as Listerine and Vapour Rub due to it's anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Romans also used thyme to relieve melancholy.
I've decided to use Thyme in a dish that takes time - baby Roma Tomatoes are flavoured with fresh thyme leaves and wafer thin slivers of garlic and then slowly roasted at a low temperature for a few hours to release their water content and intensify their flavour.
You can apply this method to any tomato but I particularly like the baby Roma Tomatoes. I find they have a lot of flavour to begin with which only intensifies during the long cooking time. When cut in half, they are the perfect size to snack on.
1 punnet/250g Baby Roma Tomatoes
fresh garlic cloves, sliced very finely
salt and pepper
Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl, drizzle over with a little olive oil and a grind of salt and pepper, mix well and then place on a lined baking tray, cut side up.
Sprinkle over with fresh thyme leaves and then dot the tomatoes with the garlic slivers, adding some whole cloves to roast at the same time. Grind over a little more pepper and then place in a low oven 140°C/284°F.
Cook for at least 2 hours or until the tomatoes have shrunk but still retain a little softness.
Place the tomatoes onto a plate and drizzle over with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar - makes a wonderful component of an antipasto platter.
You could also throw these in a salad or even toss through simple burnt butter pasta to add a flavour bullet.