I am a sucker for colours. Precisely because of that, I was immediately captivated by the vivid kaleidoscope of colours that deck out the pages in Plenty More, Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cookbook. One usually does not equate healthy produce with good taste but trust me, he somehow manages to make vegetables taste phenomenal as if they have undergone some sort of transformative renaissance.
Flipping through the pages, the tomato and roasted lemon salad caught my eye. Who would have thought one could incorporate lemon rind into a salad? So I’ve made an adaptation to Ottolenghi’s “Tomato, Onion, and Roasted Lemon Salad” since (a) I am not a fan of raw red onions, and (b) nor was I able to lay my hands on pomegranate molasses in Hong Kong (okay, I confess, was too ‘lazy’ to make my own). I simply substituted maple syrup for the molasses.
As the man advises, seek out the sweetest tomatoes you can find to balance out the bitterness of the lemon. I personally don’t find that the local tomatoes in Hong Kong deliver enough taste or sweetness so I bought some juicy cherry tomatoes imported from Holland.
- 2 medium lemons, halved lengthwise, pips removed and cut withways into 2mm eslices (260g)
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
- 8 sages leaves, finely shredded
- 400g baby tomatoes, yelllow or red or a mixture of both, halved
- 1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
- 10g parsley leaves
- 15g mint leaves
- Seeds of 1 small pomegranate (120g)
- 11/2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (NB: I used maple syrup instead)
- 1/2 small red onion, finely sliced (50g)
- Salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the lemon slices and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain well and then place the lemon in a bowl and pour over 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the sugar and sage. Gently mix and then spread out exerting on a parchment lined baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, until the lemons have died out a little. Remove and set aside and cool.
- Place the rest of the ingredients in a bowl along with the remaining oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Add the lemon slices, store gently and serve.