tOmatos may be available all year round, but the quality of the potatoes grown in the UK in summer are unsurpassed. Farmers’ markets showcase a lavish beauty pageant of theirs: misshapen tomatoes resembling pumpkins; the silky and saffron colored ones; the grape-sized, candy-sweet. I am always looking for the ripest, juiciest and most flavorful fruits. They are robust enough to eat with just a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, but applying some heat enhances and concentrates their natural sweetness.
Sweet and sour, traditional tomato curry traybake (top photo)
Heritage tomatoes have complex flavors and are inconsistently shaped, making this curry beautiful and interesting. Try it piled on thick slices of sourdough bread spread with ricotta for a breakfast full of champions.
Preparation 15 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
8 heirloom tomatoescut into different shapes (wedges, rings, quarters)
2 tobsp canola oil
1 tsp brown mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seedroasted and roughly crushed
1 cinnamon sticksplit up
A pinch of asafoetida
20 fresh curry leaves
5cm piece of fresh gingerpeeled and grated
1 tsp turmeric
50 g tamarind paste
2 tobsp caster sugar
nylon sev (chickpea flour crispy noodles), to serve (optional)
2 tobsp chopped coriander
Preheat oven to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas 4. Place a sturdy roasting pan on the hob and heat the oil over high heat. Sprinkle over the mustard seeds and once they pop, follow with the cumin and coriander seeds, cinnamon, asafoetida and curry leaves. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, then add the tamarind and stir in the sugar. Add the tomatoes and cover with the mixture, pour in 75 ml of water, season with salt and mix gently. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft but retain their shape.
Spread the nylon sev, if using, followed by the coriander, and serve.
Parmesan polenta with fried tomatoes and crispy capers
Polenta is a great starch to soak up fragrant tomato juices. Make sure you serve the tomatoes at room temperature so that they come into their own.
Preparation 20 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
For the tomatoes
800 g mixed cherry tomatoeslarger halved
8 cloves of garlicpeeled and bruised
zest of 1 lemon, removed in thin strips with a vegetable peeler
sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tosp coriander seed
tsp chili flakes
8 sprigs of fresh oregano
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
For the polenta
1 liter of vegetable stock
150 g fine polenta
80g Parmesan cheesefinely grated
60 g unsalted butter
2 tobsp olive oil
2 tobsp capers
Flat leaf parsleyminced meat, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas 4. Place the tomatoes in a roasting pan with the garlic and lemon zest. Season to taste and sprinkle with the caster sugar, coriander seeds, chili flakes and oregano. Drizzle over the olive oil and bake for 30 minutes until the tomatoes are bursting and fragrant. Let cool to room temperature, then lift out and discard the lemon zest.
For the polenta, bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan, then gradually add the polenta, stirring constantly to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally at first and then more often as mixture thickens. Beat in the butter and cheese and season to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Once they shimmer, gently add the capers and cook, shaking the pan, until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Transfer the polenta to a plate, garnish with the tomatoes, parsley and crispy capers and serve immediately.