I love the simplicity of this dish, which is mostly about how to transform your average cherry tomato into a more delicate mouthful of flavour with just one simple kitchen task. I’ll admit that skinning the tomatoes is a little fiddly, but the effort translates into silky-sweet spheres with none of the tough skin standing in the way. For the best results start making this the day before so that the juices run (thanks to the salt), and the tomatoes marinate in them overnight. If you want to make this even fancier, I’ve been known to scatter it with white crab meat for a special occasion.
Prep time: 15 minutes (+ overnight chilling)
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
PHOTOGRAPHY: KRISTIN PERERS
STYLING: FRANKIE UNSWORTH
300g cherry tomatoes on the vine
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300g borlotti beans, podded
75g goat’s curd
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few snippings of chives, to garnish
Take some of the tomatoes off the vine but try to keep their green ‘hats’ on. I leave some grouped on the vine for presentation purposes. Using a sharp knife, make a 5mm cross in the base of each tomato. Place in a heatproof bowl. Fill another bowl with water and ice. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and leave for 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to the iced water. Peel off the skins, trying to keep some of the little ‘hats’ and groups intact. Transfer to a dry bowl, season generously with salt and mix with 3 tbsp of the olive oil. Cover with cling film and chill overnight.
The next day, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and simmer the borlotti beans for 30–40 minutes or until tender (this can vary depending on how fresh the beans are). Drain, decant into a bowl, season well and toss with the remaining 2 tbsp of oil.
While the borlotti are cooking, remove the tomatoes from the bowl, transfer them to a separate container and place them back in the fridge. Let the juices come to room temperature (the oil will have hardened), then when you’re ready to serve, toss the cold tomatoes back in the juices, stir through the borlotti and divide between 4 plates. Dot a few dollops of goat’s curd around the plate and scatter with black pepper. Snip the chives over the top.
We all know we eat with our eyes first, and in her book The New Art of Cooking Frankie shows how a little attention to detail in cooking and plating up our food can make it all the more delicious to eat — even at home. Published by Bloomsbury. Photography © Kristin Perers.
— cook’s notes
Tomato tips: Don’t use overly ripe tomatoes as you want them to retain their shape after they’re plunged into water. I try to keep some of the tomatoes on the vine for presentation, but don’t fret if they fall off during the skinning process.