Charred tomato salad with yoghurt – vegetarian fingerfood
Is it me or is it somewhat hard to find some great series these days? Maybe I’ve been watching a bit too much episodes of my favorite ones in the past few months? Luckily Netflix comes up with a new series of “Somebody feed Phil” again. Feel good TV to the max AND food related. Top combination if you ask me! Since I’ve bingewatched the new episodes, I’m stuck again. Yet here’s some time to try to convert some ideas I’ve gained into reality. This Charred Tomato Salad for instance is inspired by a recipe of Yotam Ottolenghi. In a short excerpt in the “London” episode you see this dish briefly discussed. Since chargrilled tomatoes are one of my favorite sides on the BBQ, I was forced to work with this base myself. You can’t let a great idea go by…
Disclaimer: sponsored post for Lidl Belgium. All opinions shared are personal and honest.
My loyal readers will have noticed, I’m trying to experiment more with vegetarian BBQ in order to create a more representative image of my food pattern. After an unsuccessful attempt, which turned into a tasty minced meat naan pita, I can present a successful creation with this charred tomato salad. One of these meals of which you don’t realize that the piece of meat, we are so used to, is missing. It begins to dawn on me that the “controversial” 5th flavor “Umami” plays an important role in this. Those who don’t know this 5th flavour can find some more explanation in this post about the origin/discovery of this 5th flavour, how it works and why it’s so important in the (vegetarian) kitchen. In short, our brain is trained to experience this flavor as pleasant and tasty and has the ability to enhance other flavors and make them more complex.
The taste Umami is stimulated on the tongue by a substance called “glutamate”. It will not surprise you as a meat and BBQ lover that protein-rich products such as pork and beef contain a high dose of glutamate. I realize more and more that I may have become addicted to this rich complex flavor and just miss it with some vegetarian meals. Fortunately, a lot of vegetables are also rich in glutamate. Tomato, for example! Which when roasted on the BBQ develops a rich complexity of natural acids, sweetness due to the preparation and the UMAMI kick that gives the whole even more depth. Could this be the reason why I haven’t missed my piece of meat with this Charred Tomato salad?
In any case, I discovered that various recipes by the lord and vegetable master “Yotam Ottolenghi” call for products that score high on the Umami scale. I guess this must be the reason that the legendary chef succeeds in winning over both meat lovers and vegetarians as a non 100% vegetarian chef. On top of that, I was a bit extra charmed by the concept of his restaurant “Rovi“. In the restaurant he works with a wood-fired grill to prepare his vegetables and dishes. Ten points earned to the fire lover but also very smart in terms of taste development. Before the episode I was already a big fan of BBQ roasted cherry tomatoes. The idea to serve them with a yoghurt sauce and a piece of bread was very refreshing (and tasteful) for me.
Who knows, you might be just as enthusiast about this rather unique yet simple dish. We ate it ourselves on a hot summer evening as an evening meal, but it seemed just as much fun to me to serve with the aperitif or as an appetizer. Who says finger food can’t be vegetarian? At least let us know if you missed the piece of meat ;-).
- 1 handful of green herbs thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage
- some branches of cherry tomatoes in different colours
- coarse salt to taste
- airy baguette
- hazelnut oil to cover the bread
- sage blossoms optional
- 200 gr skyr or soya yogurt for a vegan plate
- 1 tsp honey or agave syrup
- 2 tl harissa more or less to taste
- 1/2 tl cumin
- +- 1/2 lime for the juice to taste
- 1 small hand of mint leaves
- 1 small hand of coriander leaves
Finely chop the mint and coriander and stir them together with the other ingredients into the yoghurt. Add the harissa and lime in parts and taste it regularly so you can finish it to your own taste.
Place in the fridge until the tomatoes are grilled.
Prepare your BBQ for a direct session at medium temperature (+-200°C).
Place the sprigs of cherry tomato on the grill grid or the individual cherry tomatoes in a grill basket and add the herbs in between so that they can smoke while the tomatoes cook and give flavour to the roasted tomatoes.
Grill the cherry tomatoes until they begin to burst out of their skin and taste deliciously sweet.
Rub the light breads with some hazelnut oil and grill until golden brown on the BBQ.
Place the yogurt sauce on a plate and add the roasted cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with coarse salt and some of the crispy herbs from the BBQ. Finish with the blossoms of sage or thyme.