Sunday, 24 April 2011

SIMPLE PLEASURES - An Occasional Series

No. 1 Tomatoes on Toast

Not bruschetta. Ooh no, this snack is far less sophisticated. I really love this simple, two-ingredients (give or take a few) dish, and it is something I quite often eat for breakfast, especially if I've got that "morning after the night before" feeling. It shares the same comforting, nursery mouth-feel as beans on toast.

The nutritional value of tomatoes is well known, and this dish is also low GI, which means if you have it for breakfast, you won't be reaching for the biscuit tin at 11 am. Aside from all that, it is just plain tasty. You don't need specialist ingredients: the cheapest, hardest supermarket tomatoes will do - the cooking softens and sweetens them - and the most bog-standard white bread is fine, though I prefer something more rustic or an artisanal sourdough. Or my homemade foccaccia, spiked with rosemary, drenched in olive oil, and lightly toasted.

So, take a couple of tomatoes, slice them, but not too finely, as they have a tendency to disintegrate in the frying pan, heat some olive oil in in a pan, and throw in the tomato slices. Meanwhile, toast a slice or two of bread. Season the tomatoes with seasalt, and a little sugar, if they are particularly bitter, or lacking in flavour. Cook until they are lightly browned around the edges. Butter the toast, and arrange the tomatoes atop it. A little fresh basil makes a nice, quasi Italiano, touch. Sometimes, I rub the toast with half a clove of garlic - as one would for bruschetta. A good grining of fresh black pepper is essential

You can also make this with whole cherry or baby plum tomatoes, as in the picture. If you don't like cooked tomato skins, skin the tomatoes first, by dropping them into a bowl of boiling water for a few minutes.

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