If you think adding roasted or sun-dried tomatoes to a dish (if you’re anything like me, any dish) elevates it, try roasted green tomatoes. They’re next level.
Green tomatoes that I’m referring to here are basically unripe tomatoes; not the variety that stays green upon ripening. So you can use any variety of tomato that you find, and this is especially convenient if you grow your own and can’t wait to pluck them. This tapenade is for people like us.
Although slightly more tart in their raw state and not ideal for eating as is, cooking both mellows their flavour as well as accentuates it. This sounds a bit counter-intuitive I know (because roasting usually only intensifies their flavour), but it mellows it in a way where you don’t have that acidic bite. The chunks of tomatoes shrivel up in size and the flavours get more concentrated into those burnished scraggly bits.
I have never eaten the green fruit in its famed cornmeal-fried glory, but I can see how that would work really well. A lot firmer than their ripe counterpart, they hold their shape better for the process of slicing, crumbing and deep-frying. Roasting them however, is my method of choice. Not just for the increased flavour, but because they have fewer seeds than you would normally find in a ripe tomato, there is lesser water content in them—which could only mean more roasted bits. I’m always ready for news like this.
I love a good tapenade. Generously slathered on slices of warm bread, they make the perfect—not to mention the quickest—appetizer. I used green olives here in place of the more commonly used black, for the sole reason that I wanted to retain the vibrancy of the spread. Black ones would work just as well. This tapenade stays refrigerated for up to a week, but if you doubled the olive oil, it should keep for up to two.
makes about 3/4th of a cup
- 3/4 cup roasted green tomatoes (instructions for roasting given below)
- 1/4 cup green olives, pitted
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4-5 basil leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp lime or lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt, to taste
- For roasting tomatoes (makes 1 cup): Preheat oven to 140 C / 280 F and line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Halve or quarter 1 kilo of tomatoes based on their size (you want them to be about 2” X 2” approx). Lay them on the lined tray and drizzle generously with olive oil, about 3-4 tbsp. Bake the tomatoes in the oven for up to 2 - 3 hours, or until they start to dry and shrivel up (this will depend on the ripeness and/or size of tomato, so keep an eye out after 2 hours).
- Add all the ingredients listed above to a blender and pulse until well incorporated, but still keeping it slightly chunky.
- Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to use. Can be kept refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to a week.
- Note: *can substitute with roasted or sun-dried red tomatoes.
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