Recipes from food stylist Nicolas Ghirlando: Fish fingers to Friday nights.

Provençal Tomatoes

provencal-tomtaoes-6Good food to me generally means simple food done well with thought and care. It makes sense that if you have good ingredients, you’re off to a good start. There’s nothing more disappointing in life than a pale, white airship of a tomato when you know how good a ripe, deep red one can and should taste. There’s little point in bothering, far better to eat something else.

And it can also be the little touches that elevate a meal. A good hand with the seasoning, the right herbs, good olive oil or that dash of fish sauce in your scrambled eggs. You don’t need to be making spheres and foams to eat well. I’ve always seen that as the food equivalent of haute couture. No-one really wants to wear that stuff, but ideas do trickle down to real clothes.

These tomatoes are amazing squished slightly into toasted slices of sourdough bread. We had them on the weekend as part of a brunch and they were the star. Bringing fruitiness, freshness and a summery zing to the plate. All it takes is a couple of minutes chopping and slicing, a few minutes under the grill and they’re ready. Be careful though, a hot tomato can be like sticking the glowing embers of a barbecue in your mouth. And no sane person would do that.

Ingredients
6 small ripe tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, about the size of the tip of your thumb
A small sprig of rosemary leaves
A sprig of thyme leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
Maldon Salt and pepper to season
Good balsamic vinegar I use Saporoso. It’s not cheap, but it does last a long time.
Olive oil

Method
Heat the grill to high.
Slice the tomatoes across their equators and lay on an oven tray or cast iron pan.
Finely chop the garlic and herbs. Season the tomatoes and sprinkle them with the garlic and herb mix. Drizzle with a little balsamic and olive oil and grill for about 5-8 minutes until softened and starting to turn golden.
Serve on toasted sourdough with another drizzle of the best olive oil you can.

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