Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Middle Eastern Tomato Salad

August 24, 2018 by General Administrator

The allspice and pomegranate molasses give this salad unusual complexity. The more varieties and colours of tomato you can include in this salad, the more festive it will look. The yellow and orange varieties look particularly attractive. Cutting everything into little cubes takes longer than just chopping into chunks, but the result is worth it: the flavours blend and create a harmonious, smoky dish quite unlike an ordinary tomato salad.

The best way to get the seeds out of a pomegranate is to bash the fruit against the inside of your sink on all sides. Bash it vigorously but cautiously so that it doesn’t actually split open. The goal is to soften and loosen the seeds while they are still inside the skin. Then hold the fruit over a bowl and break it open. The seeds should come out fairly easily.

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad
serves 4.

1 kg tomatoes, cut into ½cm dice
1 red pepper, cut into ½cm dice
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed with a pinch of salt
½ tsp ground allspice
2 teaspoons white wine or cider vinegar
1½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses
60ml olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle at the end
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
1 tablespoon oregano leaves, to garnish
Salt and black pepper

In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, red pepper and onion and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses and olive oil, until well combined. Pour this over the vegetables and mix gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the tomato mixture and the juices on a large flat plate. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and oregano, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty More (2014).

17th Aug

Three Bruschettas
A bruschetta is an Italian open-faced sandwich. To make it you grill some good sourdough bread, rub it with a bit of garlic, drizzle it with olive oil, and add a topping. Roast courgette, grilled aubergine, and chickpeas with Swiss chard all make tasty and quick toppings. Make just one, or serve all three for a fresh and summery dinner.

Basic Bruschetta
For each bruschetta you need:

1 generous slice of a decent sourdough bread
1 garlic clove, peeled
Olive oil, to drizzle

Grill the bread on both sides. Grilling gives a better result, but you can use a toaster if need be. Rub the grilled bread on one side with the garlic, and drizzle with olive oil. Your bruschetta base is now ready for a topping.

Roast Courgette
Enough to top 1-2 bruschetta

1 medium courgette
Olive oil to drizzle
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste
Several sprigs of fresh mint, chopped

Preheat oven to 200C. Cut the courgette lengthwise into 5mm slices. Place slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Turn the slices over part-way through so they get crisp on both sides. Mix the roast courgettes with the chopped chiles and mint, arrange on the bruschetta, add a final drizzle of olive oil, and eat.

Grilled Aubergine
Enough to top 2 bruschetta

1 Canalside aubergine (i.e. one very small aubergine. . .)
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Small handful of fresh basil, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste

Preheat the grill. Cut the aubergine into very thin slices and arrange in the grill pan. Grill on both sides until tender, about 10 minutes in total. Don’t forget to turn them over halfway through. Toss the grilled aubergine with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice, the shredded basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on the bruschetta, top with the chopped chile, and serve.

Chickpea Chard
Enough to top 2 bruschetta

About 200g Swiss chard (or spinach)
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste

Boil the chard in water until tender, about 3-6 minutes. Drain and chop roughly. Return the cooked chard to the pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic, and braise for another 5 minutes or so. Season and set aside.
Heat the chickpeas in a pan with another tablespoon or two of olive oil and the lemon juice, just until warm. Purée or mash the chickpeas and season to taste. Spread some of the puréed chick peas over part of each bruschetta, and arrange some chard alongside it, so that the two toppings are next to each other, rather than one on top of the other. Sprinkle the chile over the top, drizzle with a little more olive oil and eat.

Recipes adapted from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, River Cafe Cook Book Easy (2003).

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