Essential ingredients: tomatoes
Author: Berry Bros. & Rudd
On the table: The summer brings an amazing bounty of fruit and vegetables into the kitchen, but two ingredients always stand out for me: tomatoes and strawberries. They are synonymous with summer. Here I have combined both with a dish from our current menu, a refreshing take on a Spanish classic that my grandmother, who hailed from Andalucía – the birth place of gazpacho, used to make for me. Strawberries have an affinity with savoury flavours; balsamic, basil and black pepper all sit well with the fruit, and I think that is why they work so well here.
In the glass: The ferrous scent of a tomato leaf is the essence of summer cuisine. Despite their popularity, and owing to their high levels of acetic acid, tomatoes are not universally wine-friendly. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way to make that match work. I find that wines, mostly white, with a textural imperative rather than an overt pungency or aromatic quality, tend to pair best with tomato dishes. Of course this depends on the dish in question, though I would broadly favour oxidative, oily, nutty, and savoury wines, such as those made from Marsanne and Roussanne, Assyrtiko or Verdicchio.
The bitter-sweet refreshment of Stewart’s tomato and strawberry gazpacho would work very well with all but the most venerable of white Riojas; possessing, as they do, expansiveness on the palate but also a balancing freshness.
- 2kg very ripe tomatoes
- 500g ripe strawberries – stems removed
- 2 cloves garlic – peeled, cut in half lengthways and green core removed
- 1 small red onion – peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ cucumber – roughly chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 small bunch of basil (set aside a few leaves to garnish)
- 1 red chilli – deseeded and roughly chopped
- 50g bread crusts – removed from a loaf, use a focaccia or ciabatta
- 500ml passata
- 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 30ml Sherry vinegar
Roughly chop the tomatoes, and place in a plastic tub or bowl that is large enough to hold all the ingredients. Season well with salt and pepper, then add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate, allowing to marinade for a few hours, or overnight if you have the time. Blitz in a food processor and pass through a fine sieve. Adjust the seasoning – bear in mind that chilling can dull the taste, so make sure you season well. Chill until required.
- 3-4 heirloom tomatoes – diced
- A few strawberries – diced
- 1 lime – zested
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 50g bread – torn into small pieces, drizzled with olive oil and baked until crisp
When you are ready to serve, mix the diced tomatoes and strawberries. Season, add the lime zest and a splash of olive oil. Scatter on the base of chilled serving bowls, pour over the soup and finish with blobs of burrata, torn basil, bread and a drizzle of olive oil.
Enjoy Stewart’s exemplary cooking at one of our events.