We've entered the time of year when turning on the oven feels like death; when the heat makes any kitchen project that takes more than 30 minutes unbearable.
Right now, a juicy wedge of watermelon could very well count as dinner, with or without the accompanying feta and mint. For those lucky enough to have gardens, they're likely spilling over with gluts of late-summer vegetables.
That bounty is both a blessing and a curse. If you find yourself with an excess of tomatoes this year, and have made all the caprese salads and soups and pasta sauces you can stand, then I've got a recipe to help put them to good use. Adapted from Sami Tamimi's recipe for galayet banadoura – a Palestinian stewed tomato dish – this dish sees tomatoes cooked down with garlic and a tingle of chilli flakes until jammy, then seasoned with refreshing dried mint.
It also sees those cooked-down tomatoes paired with a broad bean salad. Broad beans are one of my all-time favourite vegetables, and I particularly liked the look of Georgina Hayden's summer salad recipe, which takes inspiration from her Greek grandmothers’ cooking. While Hayden serves her broad beans atop raw, grated tomatoes, I liked the intensity and spicing of these jammy tomatoes, and the contrast between warm and cool, so I decided to marry the two recipes into one vivid, Levantine dish.
But there's a third party here that seals the meal for me: Alea Rosa, a particularly luscious central Italian rosato courtesy of winemaker Andrea Occhipinti. Made with the lesser-known Aleatico grape, this rosato is macerated on its skins for one night before fermenting in steel and concrete for six months. That brief exposure is enough to lend the wine a gemstone-like, ruby brilliance – it could almost be a light red.
Happily, it's just as appealing on the palate, like crunching into just-ripe cherries while holding a fistful of foraged herbs and flowers in the other hand. Aleatico is known for its notes of rose and lychee, and this dish only emphasises the wine's floral perfume. Chill down the bottle before you serve it and toast the summer abundance while it's still here.
Warm Spiced Tomatoes and Broad Bean Salad with Feta
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
For the tomatoes:
6-8 ripe plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 teaspoons chilli flakes, to taste
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons dried mint
30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
75g pine nuts
For the broad beans:
1kg broad beans
1 banana shallot, finely diced
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Large handful dill fronds, roughly chopped
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, to taste
Small handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
Small handful dill fronds, roughly chopped
Toasted pita bread
- First, prep the stewed tomatoes. Core and score an X on the bottom of each tomato. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and gently add the tomatoes. Blanch for 1–2 minutes, or until their skins start peeling away. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon; once cool enough to handle, peel and roughly chop. Remove the pot of water from the heat but do not discard.
- Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the tomatoes and the garlic. Stir to combine and season with the chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook for roughly 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and the mixture is quite thick (you may need to crush the tomato pieces with your spoon to help them along). Remove from the heat and stir through the dried mint. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, prep the brown-butter pine nuts. Place butter in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. As soon as it melts, add the pine nuts and stir to mix. Cook for roughly 3–5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the butter foams up and starts smelling toasty and nutty. When the melted butter is a nut-brown colour, immediately remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- Pod the broad beans. Return the pot of water to the heat and bring to a boil. Add the beans and blanch for 3–4 minutes, depending on size and toughness. Transfer to a bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon. Once cool enough to handle, gently squeeze the beans from their secondary pods and place in a medium bowl; discard the pods.
- To the bowl of broad beans, add the diced shallot, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and dill, and mix to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- To serve, divide the warm tomato mix between plates and spread into an even layer. Drizzle over most of the pine nut and butter mixture. Top with the broad bean salad and the remaining pine nuts. Garnish with the feta, mint leaves and dill leaves. Serve with toasted pita on the side.