How to make Diana Henry’s chilli-roast tomatoes with feta cheese

By Ella Walker. Published 2020-04-25
BOLD-Food
A side dish of contrasts.

“Cooking is often about balance and contrast, and I particularly like dishes where the contrast is extreme,” says food writer Diana Henry. “Hot, spicy tomatoes with cold, sharp yogurt is especially hard to resist.

“You can change the herbs here: Dill, mint, chervil and coriander all work. Using chopped walnuts instead of pistachios makes quite a difference, too.

“It’s definitely time to get out your favourite extra virgin olive oil. A Ligurian oil makes this buttery, a Greek oil a bit more robust: Your choice will really change the char acter of the dish.”

Ingredients:

(Serves 4 as a side dish, or as part of a spread of dishes) - 750g plum tomatoes, halved lengthways - 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil - 3tsp chilli flakes - 2tsp fennel seeds - Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper - 4tsp runny honey - 225g Greek yogurt, or more, depending on the size of your serving plate - 150g feta cheese, crumbled - 1 garlic clove, finely grated - 5g dill, chopped, any coarse stalks removed - 10g mint leaves - 10g shelled unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190°C fan (400°F), Gas Mark 6.

Put all the tomatoes into a roasting tin in which they can lie in a single layer; if they are too close to each other, they will just steam instead of roasting. Spoon three tablespoons of the oil over them, then turn them over with your hands so they get well coated. Leave them cut sides up.

Put the chilli flakes and fennel seeds into a mortar and bash them. You won’t break the fennel seeds down, but you’ll crush them a bit. Sprinkle these over the tomatoes and season. Mix the honey with the remaining olive oil and spoon a little over each tomato.

Cook for 30 minutes, but keep an eye on them: You may find they need a little longer, but don’t overcook them. They get to a point when they completely collapse and – even though they’re delicious at this stage – they’ve lost all their shape and you don’t want that here.

Stir the yogurt, feta and garlic together and season. Put the yogurt on a serving plate and pile the roast tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the herbs and pistachios all over the dish and serve.

From The Oven To The Table: Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves by Diana Henry, photography by Laura Edwards, is published by Mitchell Beazley, priced £25 .