Ollie Dabbous’ Heritage tomato thoughts

A simple tomato salad is just about the best thing you can do with ripe tomatoes, but how to get the best out of them, and how to make it as delicious as the ones you remember eating abroad on holiday?

Keep tomatoes at room temperature, never in the fridge. Chilling tomatoes is scientifically proven to massively reduce their taste and fragrance.

Only use them when at their ripest, so leave for a few days in the sunshine if needed.

Cut them into large pieces. The joy of tomatoes, aside from their taste, is the carnality of biting into the ripe fruit. This can be enhanced simply by keeping them in thick wedges or slices rather than chopping them too small into something anonymous.

Rub the salad bowl all over with a cut clove of garlic dipped in salt. Do this quite aggressively to ensure the garlic flavour permeates the whole bowl.

Tomatoes can take a very good amount of salt and sugar; think of how heavy-handed you are when seasoning a thick steak or chicken for roasting. That same level is needed for tomatoes, given their water content. Drizzle generously with vinegar and olive oil. I personally like a white or dark balsamic, but sherry vinegar is also lovely. Allow 1 tbsp vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil per person, and leave to marinade for at least 2 hours with some rosemary and basil.

Remove the aromats. There will be a good amount of liquid released.

Serve with ripped basil, some burrata or feta and black olives (wash first to remove some of the saltiness from the brine). I also like some thinly sliced spring onion or red onion, just to add a little piquancy; this can be washed under running water to lessen the onion flavour if so desired.

Serving suggestion: eat outside in the sunshine, with some nice crusty bread. 



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