The problem with tomatoes, at this time of the year, is that they can make me lazy. They’re just too good as they are: sliced, drizzled with olive oil and paired with cheese. Caprese, Greek salad: I could (and pretty much do!) eat them every day in the summer. It’s brilliant to be reminded, then, of how wonderfully versatile they are, happily baked, cooked, squished, braised and fried in all sorts of suitably summery dishes.
Roast chicken with tomatoes, bread and herbs (pictured top)
This dish is inspired by Mediterranean flavours. Feel free to use any in-season tomatoes that you have at hand. Serve with a big green salad or some boiled potatoes.
Prep 10 minutes
cooking 1 hourr 40 mins
1kg chicken thighs (about 6 to 8), bone-in, skin-on
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
400g vine cherry tomatoesvines removed
200g vine plum tomatoesvines removed
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
300g sourdoughcrusts removed, in 1cm slices, toasted and then torn into 4cm pieces (150g net)
For the herb salsa
2 tbsp sesame seedstoasted
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
25g parsleyroughly chopped
25g chivescut into 1cm lengths
100ml olive oil
3 garlic clovespeeled and crushed
50g green pitted oliveshalved (I used nocellara)
10g mint leavesroughly chopped
1 lemonfinely zested, to get 1½ tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tsp
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put the chicken in a large bowl and rub with the dry herbs and three quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Put a large, high-sided, ovenproof saute pan for which you have a lid over a high heat. Add a tablespoon of the oil to the pan, along with both varieties of tomatoes, and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt, then fry for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices. Put the chicken skin-side up on the tomatoes, pour in the vinegar, cover with the lid and put in the oven for 40 minutes.
Turn the oven up to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7, remove the lid and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a tray. Return the pan to the oven for five to 10 minutes, until the tomato mixture has thickened and slightly charred.
Meanwhile, make the herb salsa. Put the sesame, dry and fresh herbs (apart from the mint) in a small heatproof bowl and set aside. Put a small frying pan on medium heat and add the oil and garlic. Cook for three to five minutes, until golden and fragrant. Quickly and carefully, pour the oil into the herb bowl and stir to coat. Leave to cool, then stir in the olives, mint, lemon zest and juice with a quarter teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper.
Stir the bread into the tomato mixture and put the chicken on top. Spoon some of the tomato juices over the chicken with a good grind of pepper. Serve with the salsa on top.
Tomato and bulgur fritters with yogurt and tomato salsa
These tomato fritters are perfect to use up a glut of tomatoes when you can’t face another tomato salad. Feel free to substitute the cherry tomatoes for any other that you have to hand – just make sure that you deseed larger tomatoes before crushing to remove any excess moisture. Serve them as they are or with warm pittas to make it a meal.
Prep 40 mins
cooking 30 mins
60g bulgur wheat
Sea salt and black pepper
400g cherry tomatoesroughly chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
30g panko breadcrumbs
1 lemonzested to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp
15g mint leavesfinely chopped
15g parsley leavesfinely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp coriander seedslightly bashed with a pestle and mortar
2 red chilliesdeseeded and finely chopped, (40g)
2 garlic clovespeeled and crushed
1 red onionpeeled and finely chopped (150g)
50g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
60ml vegetable oil
2 plum tomatoesfinely chopped (230g)
1 tbsp olive oil
150g Greek-style yogurt
Put the bulgur wheat in a small bowl with ¼ tsp salt and pour over 70ml of boiling water. Cover tightly with a lid or reusable kitchen wrap and set aside for 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
Put the cherry tomatoes in a medium bowl with the tomato paste, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Using your hands, squish the tomatoes until coarsely mashed, then add the bulgur, panko and lemon zest. Mix well and set aside for five minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Add 10g of the mint and 10g of the parsley, along with the oregano, coriander seeds and half each of the chillies, garlic and onion. Mix well, then stir in the plain flour and baking powder to get a wet mixture that holds its shape.
Put two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large, nonstick frying pan and put on a medium heat. Once hot, spoon 50g of the mixture into the pan, using the spoon to shape them into circles of about 6cm. Don’t overcrowd the pan: you should be able to cook four to five at a time. Fry for two to three minutes on each side until golden and crispy, taking extra care when flipping them over. Drain on kitchen paper and repeat until all the vegetable oil and mixture has been used up.
To make the salsa, mix the plum tomatoes with the lemon juice, olive oil and remaining mint, parsley, chillies, garlic and onions with half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Serve the fritters warm with the yoghurt and salsa in bowls alongside.
Tomato and yoghurt dip with caramelised figs and mint oil
Tomatoes and yoghurt really get along, especially with the addition of figs. Serve warm with plenty of toasted bread.
Prep 20 mins
cooking 50 mins
serves 4, as a starter
1 lemonfinely grated, to get 1½ tsp zest, and juiced, to get 2 tsp
3-4 fresh figssliced into ½cm rounds (160g)
40g caster sugar
2½ tbsp olive oil
1 onionpeeled and finely chopped (180g)
¼ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
350g baby plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
350g thick-set Greek yogurt
1 tbsp picked dill
For the mint oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clovepeeled and crushed
1 tbsp dried mint
Fine sea salt and black pepper
First, make the mint oil. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, take off the heat, stir in the garlic, mint and a good grind of black pepper. Set aside to cool, then stir in one teaspoon of lemon juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.
Put the figs in a small bowl with 35g of the sugar and mix gently to coat. Put a medium frying pan on a high heat with half a tablespoon of oil and caramelise on each side for 45 seconds, taking extra care when flipping over. Flip back over again for a final 15 seconds to caramelise, set aside on a parchment-lined plate and sprinkle with an an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Wipe the pan clean and return it to a medium heat.
Put a tablespoon of oil in the pan, add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, remaining tablespoon of oil, one teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper and cook for five minutes, until it begins to caramelise. Cut a slit through each tomato, turn the heat up to medium-high and add these to the pan with two tablespoons of water, the remaining 5g of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring and pressing every couple of minutes to release the juices. Remove from the heat when the tomatoes are slightly jammy, stir in the remaining teaspoon of lemon juice and set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
Put the yoghurt, lemon zest and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl and mix well.
Now, assemble. Spread a third of the tomato mix on to a large plate, followed by a third of the yogurt. Continue layering until the tomatoes and yogurt have been used up. Using a spoon, swirl the yoghurt and tomatoes to create a marbled effect. Scatter with the figs and dill. Serve with the mint oil drizzled on top.