Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Tomatoes transformed

Even though I know tomatoes are not in season every so often I crave their clean-flavoured freshness as opposed to the cooked taste of tinned tomatoes or passata. Especially for tomatoes on toast.

The problem of course is that they're still underripe but that can be countered by dry-frying - or nearly dry-frying them so that they acquire something of a chargrilled flavour. I char the toast too.

The ideal pan for this is one of those ridged grill pans but you can use an ordinary frying pan. You heat it for a couple of minutes till hot, take a slice of decent country bread, spray or drizzle it both sides with olive oil put it face down in the pan and grill/fry it both sides. Then you rub a cut clove of garlic over the surface (as they do in Spain).

While the toast is cooking you cut 2-3 tomatoes in half and rub the cut surfaces with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You place them cut side down in the hot pan and leave them for about 4-5 minutes until nicely charred (see below) then flip them over and cook for another 2-3 minutes the other side. Pile them on top of the toast, scatter over some chopped parsley if you have some and trickle over a little more olive oil and (optionally) balsamic vinegar. I also like a bit of goats cheese crumbled on top.

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