Hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt
Serves four as a starter or mezze
350g cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
¾ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp light brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 thyme sprigs 5g fresh oregano:
3 sprigs left whole and the rest picked, to serve
1 lemon: finely shave the skin of ½ to get 3 strips and finely grate the other ½ to get 1 tsp zest
350g extra thick Greek- style yoghurt, fridge-cold
1 tsp Urfa chilli flakes (or ½ tsp regular chilli flakes)
flaked sea salt and black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.
2. Place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, cumin seeds, sugar, garlic, thyme, oregano sprigs, lemon strips, ½ teaspoon of flaked salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix to combine, then transfer to a baking tray just large enough to fit all the tomatoes together snugly. Roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to blister and the liquid is bubbling. Turn the oven to the grill setting and grill for 6–8 minutes, until the tomatoes start to blacken on top.
3. While the tomatoes are roasting, combine the yoghurt with the grated lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon of flaked salt. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
4. Once the tomatoes are ready, spread the chilled yoghurt on a platter (with a lip) or in a wide, shallow bowl, creating a dip in it with the back of a spoon. Spoon over the hot tomatoes, along with their juices, lemon skin, garlic and herbs, and finish with the picked oregano and chilli flakes. Serve at once, with some bread.
Recipe extracted from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi. Photography by Jonathan Lovekin. Published by Ebury Press.