Tomatoes on toast with chilli and fennel seeds
It virtually goes without saying that the better the tomatoes, the better the toasts. I love Ligurian bull’s heart tomatoes and, of course, our rainbow ones from the Isle of Wight. If your tomatoes are less tasty, roasting them intensifies the sweetness so I have included an option for roasting the tomatoes, too.
Makes 4 toasts
400g large, ripe heritage tomatoes
Flaked sea salt
85ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fennel seeds
½ tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
4 slices good-quality bread
Slice the tomatoes, season generously with salt, then put them in a colander on top of a plate and leave for as long as it takes for the tomatoes to drain some of their liquid and for their flavour to intensify.
Warm the oil in a pan, then add the fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Warm gently for two minutes, until the seeds infuse the oil, then whisk in the vinegar.
Arrange the tomatoes on a plate, drizzle over the warm dressing, then sprinkle with plenty of sea salt.
Serve on top of garlic-rubbed, toasted bread, or scatter with feta or some toasted breadcrumbs for extra crunch, if you like.
For a roasted version that’s equally good, heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Toss the sliced tomatoes in the oil with the fennel, chilli and a good sprinkle of salt, then roast for 15 minutes, until softened and gooey. Serve on its own or stirred through pasta.
IMAGE: Emma Lee for THE GUARDIAN