This recipe is my own, but it’s something that was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe in a BBC Good Food magazine from years gone by.
I’ve made it a couple of times recently, in honour of my long-anticipated new Portuguese bowl, which I talk about in this article.
I’ve put “Portuguese” in inverted commas in the title, because there’s nothing inherently Portuguese about the recipe really, but it’s a meal I’ll always associate with the first of the warm Algarve summer evenings.
What I love about this recipe is that there’s nothing precise about it. Just like my spatchcock chicken, I tend to vary it a little each time. As such, you won’t find exact ingredient quantities, which I think makes it lots of fun to make – and to adapt to smaller or larger groups.
I also love the fact that it makes a centrepiece out of something as simple as tomatoes. The things you serve with it turn it into a full meal, but the tomatoes are really what it’s all about. It also showcases other local ingredients, such as rich Portuguese olive oil and sea salt from the salinas just down the road from us.
– Tomatoes (at least three different kinds), cut randomly and rustically! Although finding different coloured tomatoes makes it more interesting aesthetically, it tastes just as good with three different types of red tomatoes. A couple of weeks ago, I used a mixture of huge Portuguese beef tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes from Spain, and vine tomatoes from the local “corner shop.”
– One small red onion, finely chopped.
– A handful of fresh summer herbs (Recently, I’ve used oregano, basil and mint – use what you like, but the mint is a MUST!)
– A generous grinding of rock salt and fresh black pepper.
– A good dollop of your most fancy olive oil. (Recently we’ve used a “first pressing” Portuguese oil from Gallo, plus a smaller glug of Chilli Boy’s chilli oil).
– A generous splash of red wine vinegar or fruit vinegar.
– A pinch of sugar.
Take the tomatoes out of the fridge at least an hour before making (or ideally don’t store them in the fridge at all!)
Mix all the ingredients above in a bowl, and then leave them to settle at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Serve (ideally outside) with a strong goat’s cheese, slices of cured meat, and crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices. As you will see from the image below, we were lazy last time and used some pre-packed garlic toasts from a shopping trip to Spain instead.
This meal really is a case of “less is more.” It takes no more than ten minutes of effort, but looks really impressive on the table. An accompanying bottle of red wine is essential!