SAINT TOMATO PASTE RECIPE | Sharon Henry
Following taken from the third issue of Breeze e-magazine.
There probably aren’t many foods that are associated with dancing, as much as tomato paste sandwiches are here on St Helena. So much so we’ve nicknamed them ‘bread ‘n’ dance,’ an island favourite made of tomatoes and onion – sounds simple but boy do they taste good!
It does sound rather peculiar that a tomato spread be highly linked with dancing and here are the stories of how it supposedly happened.
How Tomato Paste Became Bread and Dance
A custom at Saint weddings is the couple’s first dance around ‘the table.’ Back in the old days, the table took pride of place in the middle of the room and was laden with the wedding cake and goodies usually only available on special occasions, which included tomato paste sandwiches.
Hence the ‘bread and dance’ reference.
Likewise they were once served at dances held in community centres across the island. People would go out for a good ole ‘swing round’ dancing session and having worked up an appetite, enjoyed a treat of tomato paste sandwiches afterwards – ‘bread ‘n’ dance.’
These days bread ‘n’ dance is oft en made for everyday sandwiches although they do still hold a sense of occasion as no get-together is complete without a plateful being passed around – even weddings.
They are delicious, but don’t take our word for it, whip up a batch yourself for a St Helena sandwich experience.
St Helena Bread ‘n’ Dance (tomato paste)
Tomato Paste Sandwich Spread
1 lb (450g) fresh tomatoes or 14 oz (400g) can of tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 chilli (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 rashers of rindless bacon, finely chopped (optional)
Beaten egg (optional)
Heat oil in frying pan. Add onions, chilli and bacon and fry until soft and onions start to brown.
Add tomatoes, salt and sugar.
Using a fork or slotted spoon mash the tomatoes and simmer the mixture until all the liquid has evaporated and you are left with a thick pulp.
Stir in the parsley and beaten egg and cook for a further 10 minutes until done. For a vegetarian option leave out the bacon and egg.
Allow to cool before serving. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week (if indeed it can be resisted that long.)
The tomato paste also makes a tasty dip for chips, crackers and crudités.