Grilled Tomatoes and Onions With Feta-Harissa Pine Nuts
This falls somewhere between a mezze salad, a sauce and a dip. It is rich and intense on its own but great as part of a meal with warm flatbreads, soft-boiled eggs and perhaps some labneh or thick yogurt on the side. Try to get your hands on the best-quality tomatoes you can find; the simplicity of this dish really lets the fresh vegetables sing. This is lovely eaten warm or at room temperature. It reheats quite well, its flavors intensifying as they sit overnight, and can be repurposed as a sauce spooned over grilled meats, couscous or pasta.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 5tablespoons/75 milliliters olive oil
- 1pound/450 grams red onions, each peeled and cut through the core into 8 wedges
- 2red bell peppers (10 ounces/285 grams), seeded, stemmed and cut into 1-inch/3-centimeter pieces
- 2jalapeños, cut into 1/3-inch/1-centimeter-thick rounds, stems discarded
- 1head garlic, halved horizontally, cloves split in half
- 3 ¼pounds/1 1/2 kilograms plum tomatoes
- ½cup/20 grams roughly chopped fresh cilantro (coriander), plus 1 tablespoon, for garnish
- 1tablespoon coriander seeds
- Kosher salt
- 4ounces/115 grams cherry tomatoes with the vine attached
- 4ounces/115 grams Greek feta, roughly crumbled into large chunks
- ¼cup/25 grams pine nuts
- ½tablespoon harissa paste
Step 1Heat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit/245 degrees Celsius. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Step 2Add 2 tablespoons oil, the onions, bell peppers, jalapeños and garlic to a large 10-by-13-inch/26-by-34-centimeter roasting pan (tin) and give everything a good stir. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring two to three times, until softened and well charred. Remove the garlic halves and use a small knife to remove the cloves, adding them back into the roasting pan (tin) and discarding the papery skins.
Step 3Meanwhile, use a small knife to remove the core from the plum tomatoes and then carve a small X mark across the bottom of each tomato. Add half the plum tomatoes to the simmering water and blanch just until the skins begin to pull away from the flesh, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plum tomatoes to a large colander to drain, then repeat with the remaining plum tomatoes. Once cool enough to handle, peel the plum tomatoes, discarding the skins, then roughly chop the flesh, seeds and all.
Step 4Add the plum tomatoes, 1/2 cup/20 grams cilantro (coriander), coriander seeds and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt to the roasting pan (tin) and use the back of a large spoon to mash everything together, breaking up the garlic and jalapeños a little. Return to the oven for another 35 minutes, stirring twice throughout, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the mixture has thickened. Remove from the oven and set the oven to the broil (grill) setting.
Step 5Top the charred vegetables with the cherry tomatoes and feta and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Return to the oven on the middle rack and broil (grill) until the feta and cherry tomatoes have taken on some color, 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 6Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add the pine nuts and cook until golden, shaking the skillet frequently, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully stir in the harissa, then transfer to a small bowl.
Step 7When ready to serve, spoon the harissa pine nuts all over the vegetables and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro (coriander).