I could have filled my book with tomato salads, but I held back and instead chose a couple that I feel really hit the spot. This one is packed with cherry, chunky and sun-dried tomatoes. I like to serve the pecorino in big fat wedges, but feel free to shave it over the top if you’d prefer. Substitute a vegetarian hard cheese or a vegan parmesan style cheese as an alternative. To get ahead, salt the tomatoes up to an hour in advance, and make the croutons and dressing in advance.
Time: 15 minutes
Photography: Chloe Hardwick
For the salad
450g large tomatoes
300g cherry tomatoes
200g sun-dried or semidried tomatoes
100g (3½oz) pecorino cheese
salt and pepper
For the lemon & olive oil dressing
4 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1–2 lemons, depending on how juicy your lemons are (about 2–4 tablespoons)
salt and pepper
For the croutons
250g bread, torn into 2–3cm (¾–1¼-inch) chunks – I like to use sourdough
2 tablespoons olive oil
handful of basil leaves
Cut the large tomatoes into wedges. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Put both in a large mixing bowl and season generously with salt while you make the rest of the salad. Salting your tomatoes removes some of their water and consequently intensifies their flavour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Spread the croutons out in a roasting tray, drizzle with the oil and season generously with salt. Toss well, making sure that the croutons are well coated with the oil. Roast for 10–15 minutes, until the garlic is golden and crisp. Set aside to cool before using.
To make the dressing, put the oil and lemon juice in a large serving or mixing bowl, season generously with salt and pepper and whisk until combined. Alternatively, put the ingredients in a clean jam jar, screw on the lid tightly and shake well.
Drain the salted tomatoes in a sieve and add to the dressing. Add the sun-dried or semi-dried tomatoes to the bowl. Toss, taste and season with extra salt if needed. Transfer to a large plate. Cut the pecorino into triangles and tuck into the salad, then top with the croutons and basil leaves and a crack of black pepper.
When it’s hot outside and all you want to eat are cold, fresh, flavourful salads, Ellie has got you covered. Her book is one that you’ll keep referring to whether it’s for quick, easy and simple mid-week meals or big salad parties and BBQ spreads. Salads Are More Than Leaves by Elena Silcock is published by Hamlyn, priced £20.00. Photography by Chloe Hardwick.