I like Tom Kerridge so much that I committed the heinous, ‘cheffy’ crime of purchasing a cook’s blowtorch based on his recommendation for making Tomato, Ricotta and Basil Salad. But it did cause me a ‘domestic’ with my wife. I’ll come to that shortly.
According to Tom, “blowtorching the tomatoes may sound fancy but it’s an easy way to fire-roast them for an amazing smoky taste – browning the skins without cooking the flesh.” Well, it is fancy, Tom, but this salad tastes bloody fantastic and the paprika dressing is amaaaazing, so who am I to argue?
You can pick-up a cook’s blowtorch for less than £12 on Amazon and it can also be used for BBQs and camping trips, if you’re that way inclined. That’s the easy part. The hard part was fitting the gas canister to the blowtorch which led to some colourful language being exchanged in my house. Finally, we figured it out. I say we, but in truth it was my wife who I had accosted from her work. “Couldn’t we have just put the tomatoes under the fucking grill?” she said. Quite.
Recipe: Tomato, Ricotta and Basil Salad
Calories: 150 calories per serving
Book: Tom Kerridge – Lose Weight for Good
Prep time: Approx 10 mins
Cooking time: Approx 10 mins
- 400g heritage tomatoes (a mix of larger and cherry tomatoes, ideally including red and yellow varieties)
- 100g ricotta
- A small handful of basil leaves (larger leaves torn)
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
For the smoked paprika dressing:
- 220ml water
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp granulated sweetener
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried herbs de Provence
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cornflour (mixed to a paste) with 1 tbsp water
Cost per portion: Approx £2.20
First make the dressing. Put the water, wine vinegar, smoked paprika, sweetener, garlic powder, dried herbs and salt into a small pan and bring to a simmer. Take off the heat and whisk in the cornflour paste. Return to the heat and cook for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Leave to cool completely, then strain into a jug.
Quarter the large tomatoes and halve the cherry tomatoes. Spread them all out, skin side up, on a metal tray and wave a cook’s blowtorch over the surface until the skins are charred and blistered in places, then turn the tomatoes and colour the cut surfaces.
Arrange the tomatoes on individual plates and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dollop the ricotta on top and scatter over the basil leaves. Drizzle with 3 tbsp of the smoked paprika dressing to serve.