One of my most faithful followers was somewhat despondent that it had been a jolly long time since I had published a recipe on this blog. Well fear not! For here is a veritable treat for the senses and an attractive one at that.This is a recipe that I adapted from the great Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook. If you have (or have had) a chance to taste his version or have seen it in the same book, you will have been no doubt surprised by the sheer levels of complexity of the dish. For the home cook, I have come up with a pared down version which can be accomplished in any kitchen.This makes a light starter for a dinner party where a rich meat course promises to follow, or if you are a decadent, debauched individual like myself, a refreshing afternoon snack. If you do want to pad it out a bit more - as it makes a worthy light lunch - then a few slices of toasted baguette rubbed with a clove of garlic and brushed with olive oil would complement nicely.This recipe makes 2 portions so double the quantities and so forth depending on the amount you want to makeFor the Tomato tartare2 medium sized tomatoesGood slug olive oil4 olives stuffed with anchovies, minced1/2 banana shallot, finely chopped2-3 basil leaves, chiffonade (shredded)Salt and pepper
- Skin and seed tomatoes (by plunging in boiling water for 30 seconds and removing skins quickly and then plunging into iced water to prevent further cooking. Seeds can be removed with a teaspoon - make sure you remove them all!)
- chop into fine cubes
- place tomatoes, oil, olives, garlic and basil in a bowl and mix together
- season with salt and pepper
- line 2x 8cm (2.5cm deep) ramekins with cling film and press mixture in, making sure you pack in as much as possible without squashing the tomatoes.
- cover and put in the fridge for 1/2 an hour to cool and take shape.For the BeansHandful of fine green beans (topped and tailed)Slug of groundnut oilHeaped teaspoon dijon mustardDash of white wine vinegar3-4 drops of Worcestershire sauceScant drop Tabasco (or to taste)Salt and pepper
- cut the beans into one inch pieces and boil in salted water for 5 minutes. Using your judgement, make sure there is a light bite to the beans as if they are too soft the texture will be ruined. Leave to cool.
- prepare the dressing by combining the oil, mustard, vinegar, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning in a lidded jar and shake up to emulsify.
- incorporate the dressing with the beans.To serve, take the ramekin out of the fridge. Allow to reach room temperature, and carefully overturn onto a plate, removing the ramekin and the cling film slowly (think of unrolling Mrs. Robinson’s stockings and then you get my drift!). Then take a small handful of beans and softly place them on top of the tartare.Finish with some white breadcrumbs toasted in a frying pan with a little oil or some thin slices of toasted baguette.