Monday, 22 April 2013

My Sister's Baby Tomato, Chilli and Black Olive Salad

My sister Roxanne never cooked much until she had kids, and now she's forever placing fish 'en papillotte', or gratinating various vegetables, or layering things. Nothing tastes as good as when it's layered. Apparently.

Today's simple recipe was an accompaniment to a main course (err, fish en papillotte, of course) for a dinner party she had on the weekend. I don't normally rip my family's recipes off - unless the food is sensational despite the shoddy photograph (my mum's baked cheesecake recipe springs to mind) - or the food is good but the photo is knockout.

Hence today's inclusion. Have you ever seen tomatoes look quite so delectable? Olives have never looked blacker or shinier. My sister can not only cook, she is also a great photographer. Maybe one day she'll think of doing one of these things as a job. But I doubt it.

Anyway, this simple summer salad goes well with fish or perhaps as an accompaniment to a ploughman's lunch. Either way, I would be delighted to have something so colourful put in front of me at any mealtime.

The only thing is, Roxanne tells me that the dressing is olive oil, with no acidic counterbalance.  Maybe the tomatoes will add an astringent note, but I would add a teaspoon of lemon juice or red wine vinegar to the mix just to enhance the sharpness of the dish.

My sister is as thrifty as I am. I would guess that she paid no more than £1 per serving for this salad. A bargain I reckon.

Serves 4


300g mixed baby tomatoes (I prefer cherry plum tomatoes myself)
2 large red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
100g pitted black olives, halved
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (make sure you remove the bitter centre stem)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar (optional, see note above)
Salt and black pepper
Handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

On a large serving platter, arrange the tomatoes and chillies, with the olives arranged in neat rows on top. Scatter the salad with the garlic and then dress with the olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar, if using. Season the salad and garnish with the parsley immediately before serving, and not before.

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