Cherry tomato sourdough toasts with crispy capers

It is hot. Hot hot hot, which can only mean one thing. Fruit everywhere is ripening. Our scotch bonnets are turning egg yolk yellow on the windowsill and my parents have begun to harvest figs – not from Italy or Spain, but propped up against a sunny wall in the East of England.

There’s one particular fruit in season that needs some praise: the humble tomato. This fruit comes in all guises, from tiny cherry tomatoes to giant gnarled beefsteaks, and in a whole host of colours. They can be used in everything from salads and sauces to soups and salsas with some chutneys thrown in for good measure, and are widely preserved. I bet a lot of us eat tomato in some form or other every day, even in the depths of winter.

However, as I write this it is not winter at all, but August, and the late afternoon sun is casting shadows against the building opposite ours. It is hot and I am in my pants.

I wanted to share with you one of the things I have been making, time and time again, to make the most of tomato season. Whilst we don’t have enough light or space to grow our own here, this is definitely one to make if you have a glut of cherry tomatoes. It’s perfect for breakfast, brunch or lunch, and could even be taken deconstructed to a picnic to be assembled on-site, as it were. I give you: tomatoes on toast.

OK, so it doesn’t sound revolutionary, and maybe it isn’t, but let me explain. The simplicity lets the sweet acidity of the tomatoes shine, which is cheered on by bursts of flavour from the capers’ salty savoury goodness and is cushioned by the creamy ricotta. It balances so well.

The more I cook, the more I realise that that balanced simplicity is what I’m after. I don’t feel the need to use innovative next-gen gadgets or scour the earth for the latest trendy ingredient, although both can be fun. I just want to make food that tastes great and makes people happy and this made me very happy indeed.


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Tomato sourdough toast recipe

Serves 2

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 thick slices of sourdough
  • 80g ricotta
  • 2 1/2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • Small bunch of basil
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Pop your bread in the toaster. If it’s a day old then that’s even better than using fresh.
  2. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Some I halve, others I quarter (although with no precision). This means that the larger pieces hold more of their shape, while the smaller chunks become almost jammy.
  3. Slice the garlic. This dish should be fairly rustic so no need to use a garlic crusher – let’s avoid extra washing up.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat and add in the capers once hot. Stir occasionally and remove from the pan once crispy. Save on some kitchen towel for later.
  5. Add 2 cloves of garlic to the pan. Make sure it doesn’t go any darker than golden – there’s nothing like the bitter taste of burnt garlic to haunt your meal.
  6. Once the garlic has just turned golden add the tomatoes, and cook down for about 8 minutes, stirring from time to time. They should be sticky and delicious by this stage.
  7. Season to taste, and don’t be afraid to add a pinch of sugar if they’re a little too acidic for your liking.
  8. Now for the assembly. Remove the toast from the toaster and rub the remaining half clove of garlic over the front of the sourdough (about a 1/4 per slice).
  9. Slather both garlicked slices with ricotta. The 80g here is a guide – just cover them liberally.
  10. Pour half the tomatoes over each piece of toast and top with a handful of the crispy capers and torn basil leaves.

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