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Entries in tomato (30)


chargrilled squid with fiery salsa verde

for hot lazy days when i can barely be bothered to cook and want something light, i often used to turn to prawns. but having seen a documentary about the negative environmental impact their farming can have, as well as another less than appealing aspect about how they are encouraged to breed, i’ve stopped buying them. however, i have remembered that squid is a good alternative in many quick and easy dishes.

this thomasina miers recipe was part of a “top ten 10 minute dishes" and it has wonderful flavours that bely its simplicity. use good tomatoes and enjoy the salsa that is flavoured with garlic, herbs, anchovies and capers and which brings all the components together to create a lovey light summer supper.

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raw tomato pasta

this was just perfect last week, when the temperatures were high and cooking was almost too much to even think about – ripe tomatoes cut into chunks and marinated with olive oil (use a fresh and fruity oil – the stuff you usually make a salad dressing with), lemon zest, fresh oregano (basil is also nice and perhaps a bit more predictable), black garlic (smoked or plain would also be good, just adjust your quantities so you don’t get too strong a flavour), salt and freshly ground black pepper. leave this to marinate while you cook some pasta – i used spaghetti – and then toss the two together, before serving with some parmesan.

david and i both loved this and i will no doubt make it again while the weather is hot. however, i’m feeling doubly pleased as last time i made something similar it was less of a success


roasted aubergine and lentil salad with pomegranate and mint

this salad was the perfect thing to eat on a warm summer’s evening.

i griddled aubergine slices which had been brushed with olive oil and seasoned; while they were cooking i fried a sliced red onion and some garlic in a little olive oil and when this softened i added a couple of handfuls of green lentils (puy would also have been nice), added a little red wine. when the wine had simmered away i added vegetable stock and a bay leaf,  cooking the lentils until soft and adding extra stock as necessary (add it slowly as you want it all to absorbed by the lentils).

the cooked lentils were mixed with a little pomegranate molasses and a drizzle of olive oil, so they absorbed the flavours. the cooled lentils were layered with the aubergine and some cherry tomatoes which i had roasted earlier in the week. a scattering of torn mozzarella (feta, goat's curd or grilled halloumi would also be good) and fresh mint were the finishing touches to this wonderful summer salad. we ate this with roasted spatchcocked poussin, which i’d rubbed with olive oil, sweet smoked paprika and lemon juice,and cooked for 40 minutes on a bed of spring onions.

leftovers were still delicious two days later.


brown butter tomatoes

i’ve really struggled to find decent tomatoes this summer – the ones i planted are still green and i’ve been unable to pick a single one! as a result i’ve been looking for ways to oomph up the flavour of whatever i do buy.

tomato jam and parmesan are old favourites; mint, chilli and garlic oil is a new discovery and so too is brown butter. this food52 recipe couldn’t be simpler – melt you butter and continue cooking until the white solids begin to brown and the butter smells nutty. remove from the heat and pour over sliced tomatoes, season and eat quickly, while the butter is still warm. make sure you have some bread to hand to mop up the juices.

the flavour combination works incredibly well, although i think it’s best if your tomatoes are pretty good already, as there is nowhere for a lack of flavour or poor texture to hide.


aubergines with tomatoes and coriander 


last week i had four aubergines that needed using up. thankfully i remembered this wonderful nigel slater dish, which used up half of them.

he describes it as a “hot, clean and vibrant, a mouth-popping stew for scooping up with soft warm naan, or rice” and it is the sort of dish that i can easily become obsessed with – i think i made it weekly when i first found the recipe (back in 2003 apparently) and go through phases when i remember it and overindulge then need a break.

aubergines can be tricky and this is the first dish that i remember making which cooks them quite quickly and still tastes delicious – previously i’d had problems with quick-cook dishes and had decided that long and slow was the way forward. i think part of the reason this dish works so well as “a quick dish” is because the aubergines are salted and set aside for half an hour before rinsing and then cooking. traditionally aubergines were salted to draw out bitter juices, which is something that modern varieties don’t need. however, it does soften them and this is why it’s a step worth keeping in with some recipes (this being a prime example).

the chillies i used in this were fierce which meant i needed to add some greek yoghurt to cool things down. whether or not you need or want to do the same is up to you. ideally i’d make it without.

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