It’s not always possible to find a decent tomato in the north of Scotland. Even in the height of summer, homegrown ones can be insipid and have an odd chalky texture. And raw tomatoes are one thing I’m very fussy about. They have to be good or they have to be cooked.
There will be no turning my nose up at tomatoes this summer, however. There are beautiful, ripe, flavoursome specimens to be found everywhere and I’m eating them at most meals.
This was today’s breakfast.
The tomatoes need to be ripe, the olive oil needs to be good and the flavours need some time to fuse.
Chop or slice a handful of ripe tomatoes and place in a dish. Season with flaky sea salt and black pepper. Pour over about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of cider vinegar. Stir and leave to sit for half an hour.
Toast a bagel (or other bready item) lightly. Use a spoon to gather up the tomato-infused oil at the bottom of the bowl and drizzle evenly over bagel. Top with the tomatoes, another sprinkling of seasoning and, if you fancy, some shaved Parmesan cheese.
Also good with balsamic vinegar rather than cider vinegar.
Risotto Bianco with Rocket and Parma Ham
2 tblspn olive oil
2 tblspn butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 sticks of celery, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
250ml dry white wine
350g arborio rice
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock (homemade)
2 handfuls grated Parmesan
- In a large pan, heat the oil and butter over a medium heat until melted. Add the onion, celery and garlic and stir to coat. Reduce heat a little and cook gently for 15 – 20 mins until vegetables are soft and translucent but not caramelised.
- Meanwhile, heat the stock in another pot until simmering. Reduce heat to keep stock hot but not simmering.
- Increase the heat to medium high and add the rice. Stir to coat with oil and combine with the veg and cook for a minute. Add the wine and let it bubbly up, stirring occasionally.
- Now for the relaxing part… Reduce the heat to medium and add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir with a wooden spoon firmly, massaging the rice until all of the liquid is absorbed. You want the rice and liquid to just simmer at a gentle blib not vigorously. Keep adding the stock and letting it absorb until the rice is almost soft and the last ladle has been absorbed. Taste for seasoning at this point, adding salt and pepper to taste. Don’t be too liberal with the salt as the Parmesan and Parma ham will also add salt.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the remaining butter then cover and let sit for a couple of minutes.
- Stir well again then serve topped with parma ham and rocket.
Some snaps from a beautiful walk down Aviemore way last weekend.
I’m not here terribly often these days. Will continue posting but, meanwhile, if you have Instagram, you can find me here: @weebit77