Yotam Ottolenghis tomato recipes
As autumn kickings in, fresh tomatoes can still give us one glorious final taste of summer
Theres no fruit I associate more with summertime vacations than tomatoes: cherry tomatoes chopped and piled high on rusk biscuits in Crete; tomato and pomegranate salads in a kebab eatery outside Istanbuls spice bazaar; reaching for a single tomato off the vine on the Italian Riviera. Perfectly ripe tomatoes are, for this chunk of the year at least, my breakfast, lunch and supper.
The actual vacations may be long gone, but those sun-sweetened tomatoes are still with us, so stimulate the most of them while you can. And go all-out colour-wise, too, before things turn take a turn for the gray there are so many to choose from. I love a conflict of orange Sungold cherry tomatoes, red large-ridged Brandywines, green tomatoes and striped tomatoes, but whatever you choose make sure you use the ripest you can find. And, once you get them home, never store them in fridge: even the shortest snap of cold will dull their flavor and sever all ties to memories of the sun.
Tomato and plum salad with nori and sesame salt
You can get everything chopped and prepped an hour or two ahead, but dont set this together until just before serving. Double( or quadruple !) the amount of nori and sesame salt, if you like: its a great alternative seasoning for all sorts of day-to-day cooking. Serves six.
800 g mixed ripe tomatoes( beef, plum, tiger, green, yellow and cherry ), large ones cut into 1cm-wide wedges, cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
3 ripe dark plums, stoned and cut into 1cm-wide wedges
6 spring onions, finely sliced on an slant
15 g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp groundnut oil
3cm piece ginger, peeled and julienned
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
tsp finely grated orange zest
Flaky ocean salt
sheet of nori seaweed
2 tsp black sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
tsp chilli flakes
Put the tomatoes and plums in a large bowl with the spring onions and coriander.
In a medium bowl, whisk the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and groundnut oil, stir in the ginger, garlic, orange zest and half a teaspoon of salt and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
Heat a medium frying pan on a high flame, then dry-fry the nori sheet for a minute, turning it over halfway through, until crisps and dry. Roughly break up the nori sheet, then blitz to a rough powder( a spice grinder is the best tool for this ). Tip the nori powder into a small bowl, then mix in the sesame seeds, chilli flakes and half a teaspoon of salt.
To serve, pour the dres over the tomatoes and plums, toss gently and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle over half the nori and sesame salt mix and set the rest in a small bowl to serve alongside, so your guests can add more, if they like.
Stuffed courgettes in tomato sauce
If you can, use Turkish courgettes here: they are stubbier and have softer skins than the ones were used to here and easier to stuff. If not, regular long green courgettes will do just fine, though you may need to cut them into thirds( rather than halves) to get pieces the right duration. Save any courgette flesh for a soup or saute in olive oil with some freshly sliced garlic. This savor much better a day or even two after it is attained. Serves six.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
150 g short grain rice
400 g minced lamb
6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
30 g parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp dried mint
Salt and black pepper
10 sun green Turkish courgettes, aims trimmed, cut in half widthways into short segments about 7-8cm long
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
60 ml passata
300 ml chicken stock
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan on a medium-high flame, then fry the onion for seven to eight minutes, until soft and starting to caramelise. Spoon into a large bowl and mix with the rice, lamb, a third of the chopped tomatoes, the parsley, allspice, mint, a teaspoon and a one-quarter of salt and plenty of pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Scoop out a deep, round well in each courgette piece, leaving a 0.5 cm thick wall of flesh all around the edges and about 1cm at the base( I do this by first removing some flesh from the centre with a small, sharp knife, then employing a blunt knife, twisting it like a pencil sharpener, to scoop out more flesh to leave a little cup ). Gently push the lamb concoction into the cavities in the courgettes, then set them stuffing side up in a 25 cm-diameter round cast-iron pot or pan thats at least 10 cm deep.
Put the remaining chopped tomato in a food processor with the garlic, passata, chicken stock, half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper, blitz smooth and pour throughout the courgettes.
Bring the sauce to a boil, encompas, turn down the hot to medium and leave for 45 minutes, until the courgettes and their stuffing are cooked. Remove the eyelid and cook for 25 -3 0 minutes more, basting the courgettes once in a while, until the sauce is rich and has thickened a bit( if need be, take out the courgettes and reduce the sauce further ). Serve hot, with the sauce poured on top.