The bounty of heirloom tomatoes is unmatched at this time of the year. I want to savor every large tiger, green and red plum tomatoes as much as I can. The tomatoes, sumac shallots and pine nuts recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi feeds my enthusiasm. Ottolenghi spices up the shallots with sumac and pairs them with the seasonal tomatoes. This is more or less a salad dish; there is no cooking involved. Meanwhile, the sweet juicy flavor of tomatoes plays well with the lemony spicy note of the sumac. On top of that, the pine nuts add the desirable nutty crunch to the salad.
The technique I’m most intrigued in the tomatoes, sumac shallots and pine nuts dish: the construction of the sumac shallots. There is nothing complicated about the process besides adding white-wine vinegar to tablespoonfuls of sumac. Then add it to the shallots and let sit for half an hour for the flavor to develop. It’s that simple.
Hence, I’m pleasantly surprised of the resulting mellow, yet pungent, counterpoint that the sumac shallots impart to the tomatoes. It’s faster than pickling the onions and create another layer of flavor to the alliums. Brilliant!
I’m linking this post to IHCC, where alliums are the featured ingredients of the week.
Tomatoes with Sumac Onions and Pine NutsPrint Recipe
- 1 large banana shallot, peeled and sliced into 1mm-thick pinwheels
- 1½ tbsp sumac
- 2 tsp white-wine vinegar
- Salt and black pepper
- 700g tomatoes – ideally a mixture of large tiger, green and red plum, and red and yellow cherry
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 15g basil leaves, plus a few extra small leaves to garnish
- 25g pine nuts, toasted
Put the shallot in a small bowl with the sumac, vinegar and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Mix together with your hands, so the sumac gets well massaged into the shallots, then leave for 30 minutes, to soften.
Cut the large tomatoes in half lengthways and then into 1-1.5cm wedges and put them in a large bowl. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthways and add to the bowl. Pour in the oil, add the basil, a third of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper, and toss gently with your hands to combine.
Arrange the tomatoes on a large platter and spread the shallots over the top. Lift some of the tomatoes and basil so they are visible above the shallots, sprinkle over the pine nuts and baby basil leaves, and serve.
Adapted from Ottlenghi's website.