Wife and I have not long been back from a quick holiday in Spain and one of the things that we enjoy while we’re out there is the quality of the tomatoes. Often we’ll be found with a plate of sliced tomato and onion with a bit of olive oil in hand. One of the things I find particularly interesting is that, not only do the tomatoes taste so much better over there but there isn’t this obsession with everything looking ‘supermarket perfect’.
Anyway, before I rant about the way British supermarkets have changed out eating habits I’ll just crack on with this brilliant recipe from the excellent Jamie Oliver. We were looking for a light(ish) lunch that really celebrated and boosted the flavour of tomatoes. You can find the original recipe here and it states that it will feed 6. I imagine that’s true if served as some kind of banquet or BBQ accompaniment but if you just want a really tasty lunch then I’d say it serves 3.
- 4 large handfuls mixed tomatoes
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Good-quality red wine vinegar
- ½ clove garlic, grated
- 2 tsp fresh horseradish, grated, or jarred hot horseradish
- 1 small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely sliced
Method of Preparation:
- Cut the bigger tomatoes into slices about 1cm/½ inch thick. You can halve the cherry tomatoes or leave them whole. Then sprinkle them all with a good dusting of sea salt.
- Put them in a colander and leave them for 30 minutes. What’s going to happen here is that the salt will draw the excess moisture out of the tomatoes, intensifying their flavour. Don’t worry about the salad being too salty, as a lot of the salt drips away.
- Next, place the tomatoes in a large bowl and dress with enough extra virgin olive oil to loosen (approximately 6 tablespoons), and 1–2 tablespoons of vinegar, but do add these to your own taste. Toss around and check for seasoning – you may or may not need salt but will certainly need pepper.
- Add the garlic. Now start to add the horseradish. Stir in a couple of teaspoons to begin with, toss around and taste. If you like it a bit hotter, add a bit more horseradish.
- Last thing is to get some finely sliced flat-leaf parsley (stalks and leaves) and mix this into the tomatoes. Toss everything together and serve
In terms of the 4 large handfuls of mixed tomatoes I went to my local Morrison’s (one with the Market Street fruit and veg section) and was able to pick up 2 large plum tomatoes, 2 large yellow vine tomatoes, 6 yellow cherry tomatoes, 6 orange cherry tomatoes and one other one that I can’t remember the name of…
To finish it off, as you can see from the picture, I grilled off some Cypriot halloumi which was a lovely combination, especially when stuffed into a warm pitta. Jamie talks about mopping up the juices with some soft bread at the end, this is an absolute must – even though I’m supposed to be off bread at the moment – it’s delicious!
The way the salting and resting intensifies the flavour of the tomatoes is a trick I’ll be using over and over again, I’m surprised I’d never come across it before. It’s also worth pointing out that I couldn’t find any fresh horseradish, I even went to one of our local Indian superstores. What I came back with was mooli which is a fair bit milder than horseradish so that level of flavour was missed somewhat. Also, Wife and I are big garlic fans, so I grated a whole clove into the mixture and as it all came together there was a lovely garlic aroma which wasn’t overpowering.