There is a lonely tomato plant in a corner of the Ottolenghi test kitchen. It has grown out of a single seed from a single squashed datterini tomato that we happened to have lying around. To be honest, none of us thought it would come to much. But it did! It recently produced a bounty of five tiny tomatoes, which we cut in half, sprinkled with salt and a drizzle of oil, and enjoyed simply. The delight in a single tomato can be just as rewarding as a salad featuring the season’s plenty. It is for you to choose.
Tomatoes with mango miso dressing (pictured top)
The tropical marriage of tomato and mango makes this a delicious and colourful side dish for a barbecue or light lunch.
Prep 25 min
Marinate 20 min+
Cook 45 min
For the mango miso dressing
90ml canned sweetened mango puree – East End’s alphonso pulp is great
3 limes, 2 juiced, to get 3 tbsp, the other left whole
1½ tsp white miso paste
Flaked sea salt and black pepper
90ml sunflower oil
For the herb dressing
10g basil leaves
10g mint leaves
1 green chilli (10g), pith and seeds discarded if you prefer less heat
3 tbsp sunflower oil
For the tomatoes
500g mixed ripe tomatoes, small ones cut in half, larger ones cut into quarters
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks of a similar size to the tomatoes
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (use a mandoline, if you have one)
⅔ tsp nigella seeds
First make the mango miso dressing. Put the mango puree in a medium bowl with the lime juice, miso and half a teaspoon of salt, and mix well. Pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously, until you have a smooth dressing, then set aside.
Put the chopped tomatoes and mango in a medium bowl with 80ml of the dressing and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, mix gently, then leave to marinate for 20-30 minutes. Drain into a colander and discard the liquid.
Meanwhile, for the herb dressing, roughly chop the basil, mint and chilli, and put them in a small bowl with the oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper.
Using a small, sharp knife, top and tail the remaining lime, then cut around its natural curves to remove the skin and pith. Cut between the membranes to release the individual segments, then cut each segment into four or five pieces, add to the herb bowl and mix well.
Arrange half the onions on a medium platter, followed by the drained mangoes and tomatoes, then spoon over the remaining mango dressing. Dollop the herb dressing on top and scatter over the remaining onions. Serve with the nigella seeds sprinkled on top.
Confit tomato pasta with dukkah pangrattato
Small datterini tomatoes (the name translates as “little dates”) are wonderfully sweet and perfect for tomato sauce because they have lots of flesh and not too many seeds, so they cook quickly. If you can’t find them, cherry tomatoes make a fine substitute. If you want to get ahead, confit the tomatoes and make the crunchy topping the day before. Make the pasta just before serving, though, and toss it with the warmed tomatoes.
Prep 10 min
Cook 50 min
500g datterini (or cherry) tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 head garlic, the top 1-2cm sliced off to expose the tops of the cloves
145ml olive oil
25g basil leaves
5 sprigs fresh oregano, picked to get 1 tbsp leaves
80g creme fraiche
320g conchiglie, or similarly shaped short pasta such as orecchiette
40g pecorino romano, or parmesan, shaved with a peeler
For the pangrattato
1 slice sourdough, crust removed and crumb torn into rough chunks (50g)
35g blanched almonds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, 100ml oil and half a teaspoon of salt in a 20cm x 30cm baking tray. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the tomatoes have burst and caramelised. Using tongs, squeeze the garlic cloves from their papery skins into the sauce; discard the skins and leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, make the pangrattato. Put the bread, almonds, coriander and cumin in the small bowl of a food processor and blitz for a minute to make coarse crumbs. Stir in a tablespoon of oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then tip on to a baking tray and roast for five minutes. Stir in the sesame seeds, bake for another three minutes, until golden, then set aside.
Wipe clean the food processor, add the basil and oregano, and pulse until finely chopped. Stir in the remaining two tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt.
Put the creme fraiche in a small bowl, loosen with one and a half tablespoons of water, then set aside.
About 10 minutes before the tomatoes are cooked, bring a medium saucepan of well-salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Ladle 100ml of the pasta water into the cooked tomatoes, then strain the pasta and stir it into the tomato tray. Mix well, until the sauce clings to the pasta, then fold in the pecorino. Sprinkle the pangrattato on top, spoon over the creme fraiche and the herb mixture, and serve.
Summer tomato soup with crab and salted peanuts
This is inspired by Spanish chilled soups, which are a favourite summer staple. I like them with some texture but, for a silkier finish, sieve the mixture and discard the solids. If you like, make the soup the day before and blend again before serving, if need be.
Prep 20 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4 as a starter
For the ginger oil
60ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
15g ginger, peeled and finely grated (10g)
½ tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar
Sea salt and black pepper
For the tomato soup
9 large ripe plum tomatoes (850g), each cut in half widthways
2 tsp rice-wine vinegar
1 red chilli, roughly chopped (discard the pith and seeds if you prefer less heat)
1½ tbsp olive oil
1½ tsp lime juice
¾ tsp soy sauce
For the crab and peanut salad
100g white crab meat
30g roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
½ red chilli, finely chopped (discard the pith and seeds if you prefer less heat)
1 lime, zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 2 tsp
1½ tbsp roughly chopped coriander (5g)
Put all the ingredients for the ginger oil and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan on a medium heat. Once it’s all gently bubbling, cook for two minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not coloured, then take off the heat and leave to cool.
Deseed two of the tomato halves, reserving the seeds, and finely chop the flesh into 5mm pieces. Put these in a medium bowl with all the ingredients for the crab and peanut salad, add an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and mix gently; if you’re making this ahead, don’t stir in the peanuts until just before serving.
Put all the ingredients for the soup in a blender, add the reserved tomato seeds and half a teaspoon of salt, and blitz for a minute or two, until very smooth. Divide the soup between four wide, shallow bowls, spoon over the ginger oil and serve with the crab mixture piled on top.