THIS IS A STUNNINGLY SIMPLE BUT ELEGANT TOMATO SALAD SERVED IN BARS IN ANDALUSIA. IT REQUIRES ONLY THE BEST TOMATOES AND THE FINEST DRIED OREGANO YOU CAN FIND — HOME-GROWN IS GOOD, BUT THE DRIED OREGANO AVAILABLE IN MEDITERRANEAN DELIS ALSO HAS GREAT FLAVOUR. THE OREGANO SHOULD BE GROUND INTO A DUST SO THAT IT DOESN’T CHANGE THE TEXTURE OF THE TOMATOES, JUST THE FLAVOUR. TO DO THIS I RECOMMEND USING A SPICE GRINDER OR SMALL DOMESTIC COFFEE GRINDER. IN THE BARS OF ANADALUSIA THIS RECIPE IS MADE TO ORDER AND ITS SHARPNESS MAKES A GREAT FOIL TO THE OIL IN THE DEEP-FRIED DISHES. I LET IT REST FOR A WHILE, TO ALLOW THE FLAVOURS TO MARRY.
If you have thick-skinned tomatoes, such as those generally sold in supermarkets, peel them by scoring the base with a sharp knife and placing them in a saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon, refresh in iced water, and when cool enough to handle, peel away the skins.
Cut the tomatoes into slices
Place the garlic on a chopping board and crush the cloves by pressing down with the flat side of a large knife. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes over the garlic, then pound together, using the flat side of the knife again, until a smooth paste forms. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil.
Cover the tomato slices with the onion slices, then sprinkle with some more sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with the vinegar, then the olive oil and garlic mixture. Cover and leave to stand at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavours to mingle.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.