Yotam Ottolenghi’s tomato recipes (2024)

Just look at all the pantry staples made with tomatoes – tinned, paste, passata, sun-dried and more – each a variation on the bright-red theme. It’s that desire to capture summer in a jar, tin or tube that provides cooks with some of their snappiest tools for layering tomatoey flavours. Yes, there’s nothing quite as glorious as a perfectly ripe, raw tomato, but in cooking, adding all its derivatives into the mix opens up a world of creatively fine-tuning sweetness, acidity and freshness.

Bulgur with tomato, aubergine and preserved lemon yoghurt (pictured above)

This is made of three components – roasted aubergine, bulgur with tomato, and yoghurt sauce – all of which I adore on their own. Together, however, they make a truly memorable vegetarian main, which can easily be turned vegan by using a dairy-free yoghurt. It also works as a side dish, in which case these quantities will serve six to eight.

Prep 15 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4 as a main

2 large aubergines (500g net weight), cut into 3cm chunks
100ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground allspice
400g cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
250g bulgur wheat
200g Greek-style yoghurt
1 small preserved lemon, pips discarded, skin and flesh finely chopped
10g mint leaves (about 1 tbsp) finely shredded

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Put the aubergine in a large bowl with four tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix, then spread out on a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the aubergines are caramelised and soft. Take out of the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, put three tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan for which you have a lid and heat on a medium-high flame. Once hot, fry the onion for eight minutes, stirring a few times, until caramelised and soft. Add the garlic and allspice, fry for a minute, stirring continuously, until the garlic is aromatic and starting to brown, then add the cherry tomatoes, mashing them with a potato masher to break them up. Stir in the tomato paste, 400ml water and a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 12 minutes. Add the bulgur, stirring it in so it’s completely coated, then turn off the heat and set aside for 20 minutes, so the bulgur can absorb all the liquid.

In a medium bowl, mix the yoghurt with the preserved lemon, half the mint and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.

Divide the bulgur between four plates and serve with the yoghurt and aubergine alongside and a sprinkling of the remaining mint.

Tomato, chard and spinach with fried almonds

Yotam Ottolenghi’s tomato recipes (1)

I originally used this as a filling for a vegetarian pie. If you fancy trying that, just reduce the mix down so it’s not so wet, top with puff pastry or mashed potato, and bake. This simpler version, though, is great served hot with steamed rice or at room temperature as part of a meze spread, drizzled with lots of olive oil and mopped up with bread.

Prep 15 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 6 as a side

60ml olive oil
50g flaked almonds
½ tsp paprika
1½ tsp caraway seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 x 400g tins whole plum tomatoes
500g Swiss chard, stalks finely sliced, leaves roughly chopped
130g spinach, roughly shredded
35g mint leaves, roughly chopped
35g dill, roughly chopped
8 spring onions, cut into 1cm-thick pieces
2 limes – zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then juiced, to get 2 tbsp

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Put two tablespoons of oil, the almonds and paprika in a large saute pan for which you have a lid, and fry on a medium heat for two to three minutes, until the nuts are golden brown, then transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and discard the oil.

Return the pan to a medium-high heat with the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Once hot, fry the caraway and garlic for a minute, until they start to sizzle and brown, then stir in the tomatoes, chard and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, crushing the tomatoes as you stir. Cover the pan and leave to cook for 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the chard has wilted and the tomatoes have broken down. Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach, herbs, spring onions, and lime zest and juice.

When you are ready to serve, spoon the greens into a large shallow bowl or individual bowls and top with the fried almonds.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s tomato recipes (2024)
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