A classic pan con tomate, crispy tomato fritters and Chinese stir-fried eggs simple dishes with summers finest ingredient

Claire Ptak’s tomato, rye and triple cream tart

This is a quiche but the true stars here are the slow-roasted tomatoes. The custard is only there to gently wrap its arms around these tart and sweet, almost dried tomatoes and the creamy cheese. The pastry is rye and crisp – the perfect case for the rich filling.

You will need baking parchment and baking beans for this recipe.

Makes one 23cm tart
For the oven-roasted tomatoes
heirloom tomatoes 800g (about 5-6) in different colours
thyme 10 sprigs

olive oil 4 tbsp
pomegranate molasses 3 tbsp
sea salt and pepper

For the rye pastry
ice cube 1
cold water 60ml
rye flour 175g
plain flour 50g
fine sea salt ½ tsp
unsalted butter 150g, cold and cut into 1cm cubes

For the filling
plain flour 2 tbsp
large eggs 2
whole milk 200g
sea salt and pepper
triple cream cheese 200g, such as Delice de Bourgone, or a double cream cheese like brie

Heat the oven to 150C/gas mark 2. Line a baking tray or roasting tin with parchment paper.

Cut the tomatoes into quarters, sixths or eighths depending on how large they are. The wedges should be about 2cm wide. Place them skin-side down in the prepared dish and drizzle with the oil and pomegranate molasses, tuck in the thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Bake for 2 hours until reduced and concentrated and beginning to dry out.

Meanwhile make the pastry. Add an ice cube to the water and stir a few times. Set aside.

Add the flours and salt to a food processor, or bowl if you don’t have one, and blitz a few times or whisk together. Add the cold butter and mix until you have a sandy texture. Add the water (removing any unmelted ice) and blitz (or mix in) until it just starts to form a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and press together a few times to form a ball. Press into a flat disc and wrap with clingfilm. Chill for 30-45 minutes. If you have to chill it longer, it will be fine but you will need to let it soften slightly before rolling out.

When you’re ready, roll the pastry out to a few millimetres thickness. I like to roll rye pastry thicker than normal pastry because it is more brittle but also because it can handle being thicker without seeming stodgy.

Heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Press into a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin and trim the sides. Chill for 10 minutes. Line the shell with parchment and fill with ceramic or dry baking beans. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is almost baked. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing the paper and beans. Bake again for 5-7 minutes until the pastry gets a little colour. Remove and make the filling.

Whisk together all of the filling ingredients except the cheese. Pour through a sieve and set aside.

Fill the pre-baked rye pastry shell with the roasted tomatoes. Dot with large chunks of the cheese and pour over the strained custard mix. Drizzle with any remaining tomato juices. Place on a tray in the middle of your oven (still at 180C/gas mark 4) and bake for about 25-30 minutes. This is a shallow quiche so it bakes quite quickly. Adjust the time if you use a deeper or smaller tin. Cool slightly and serve with a leafy salad.
Claire Ptak is the owner of Violet Cakes, London E8

Monika Linton’s pan con tomate

Monika Linton’s pan con tomate. Photograph: Martin Poole/The Observer

Traditionally, for pan con tomate people used bread that was a day or two old, which would come to life with the juice of the tomato. My favourite is pan de coca (a Catalan flatbread) or alternatively pan de payés (country loaf), or a slice of sourdough. In the Basque country they often use a baguette, though this wouldn’t be my first choice, as once rubbed with tomato the soft texture can become too pasty. Look for bread with a good crust and quite an open airy texture – not dense and solid – that will crisp up nicely if you are toasting it. Industrial sliced bread won’t do, as it will just become a mush.

You also need good olive oil, something fruity but not overpowering, such as Arbequina, which will complement the sweetness of the tomato. Use as much as you like, but remember that you might end up with oil running down your arm as you eat.

Inevitably, there is always an argument over which of the few ingredients should go on to the bread or toast first. At home the way we do it is to toast a pile of good bread, then put out the halved tomatoes, cut cloves of garlic (for those who want them), a bottle of good extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt, and let everyone help themselves. If you are happy using your fingers this is really the best way, however messy.

If you are using garlic I would say only do so if the bread is toasted, and then rub it on before the tomato, as the roughness of the toast’s surface gives you something to grate the cloves against, and it will embed itself better if the bread is not already soaked in tomato. Next I would squeeze the juice into the toast until it is coloured bright red and all that is left of the tomatoes is their skin. Ideally, you will have more juice than flesh on the toast, so it looks as if it has been painted red.

Some say salt should come next, then oil, as this helps the salt to impregnate the bread, but I like to drizzle on the oil first and rub it in, then scatter on sea salt, as I love the crunch it gives.

Eat straight away, neat, or with whatever topping you like, from slices of cured ham or sausage to anchovies, or manchego cheese. Freshly cooked kippers are good too.
Brindisa: The True Food of Spain by Monika Linton (Fourth Estate, £29.95)

Fuchsia Dunlop’s fan qie chao dan – stir-fried eggs with tomatoes

Fuchsia Dunlop’s fan qie chao dan – stir-fried eggs with tomatoes. Photograph: Martin Poole/The Observer

When the Chinese of the coastal provinces first encountered the tomato, it reminded them of more familiar fruits and vegetables, which is why it became known as a “barbarian aubergine” or a “Western red persimmon”. Here, then, is a recipe for “barbarian aubergines” stir-fried with eggs, which I ate every other day when I lived in Sichuan. It’s beautiful, with its vivid mix of red and yellow, and seems much more delicious than the sum of its parts. I’ve given a recipe for two eggs and two tomatoes, which you can increase by an egg and tomato or two if you please. The potato flour mixture, if added, gives an extra luxuriousness to the juices, but isn’t strictly necessary.

Serves 1
ripe tomatoes 2, similar in volume to the eggs
eggs 2
cooking oil 4 tbsp
caster sugar ½ tsp
potato flour ½ tsp mixed with 2 tsp water (optional)

Cut each tomato in half, then into sections the size of tangerine segments. Beat the eggs evenly together with a little salt.

Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a seasoned wok over a high flame. Add the beaten eggs and swirl them around. Use a wok scoop or a ladle to nudge the edges of the egg towards the centre, so the uncooked egg can run out. As soon as the egg has set (it may be a little golden), remove it from the wok.

Return the wok to the high flame with the final 1 tbsp oil if you need it. Tip in the tomatoes and stir-fry until they are hot and smell cooked and delicious, adding the sugar and salt to taste. Then return the eggs to the wok and mix everything together. Add the potato flour mixture, if using, and serve.
Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop (Bloomsbury Publishing, £25)

Edson Diaz-Fuentes’s chicken tinga tostadas

Edson Diaz-Fuentes’s chicken tinga tostadas. Photograph: Martin Paul/The Observer

The year-long warm climate in Mexico means plump, sun-ripened tomatoes are always available so you will see fresh tomatoes – never tinned – used. They’re an essential ingredient in dishes from classic salsa roja, where tomatoes are charred for a rich smoky flavour, to soups, stews and guisados (mains) like this chicken tinga, to be served with tacos, quesadillas or tostadas.

Serves 6
chicken thighs 500g, skin on
chicken breast 500g, skin on
onion 925g, peeled
garlic 8 cloves, peeled
bay leaves 12
olive oil 100ml, plus 2 tbsp
plum tomatoes 1.5kg
salt 20g
oregano 2 pinches
chipotles in adobo 55g
star anise 3
ground black pepper 1 pinch

To serve
tortillas baked or fried
sour cream
queso fresco (available at
Gringa Dairy) or other mild white cheese
lettuce shredded

Put the chicken thighs and breasts, 125g of onion, 4 garlic cloves, 6 bay leaves and 1.5 litres of water into a large pot on a medium heat, bring to the boil then simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove the cooked chicken from the broth and, when cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones. Tear the chicken into shreds. Set aside. Strain and reserve the stock.

Finely slice the remaining onion. Add 100ml olive oil to a pan and sauté the onions until translucent. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Prepare 1kg of tomatoes by removing (and reserving) the centre and the seeds of the tomatoes. Slice the rest of the flesh into short thin strips and set aside for later. In a blender add 500ml of reserved chicken stock, the remaining 4 garlic cloves and the reserved tomato centres and seeds. Roughly chop the remaining plum tomatoes and add to the blender. Blitz until completely pureed, then strain the mixture to remove the seeds.

In a deep pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the blended tomato mixture and cook on a medium heat until the tomato starts changing colour, about 5 minutes.

Season with the salt, oregano, chipotles in adobo, star anise, remaining 6 bay leaves and black pepper. Add the reserved sliced tomatoes and cook until soft. Add the sauteed onions. Add the shredded chicken at the end and mix all the ingredients thoroughly.

Let everyone make their own tostadas de tinga. Serve in the middle of the table, family style, with tostadas – baked or fried tortillas – as well as accompaniments like sour cream, queso fresco, shredded lettuce and top with coriander.
Edson Diaz-Fuentes is co-owner of Santo Remedio, London SE1

Claire Thomson’s tomato fritters with butter beans and feta

Claire Thomson’s tomato fritters with butter beans and feta. Photograph: Sam Folan

Serves 4
olive oil
spring onions 1 bunch, trimmed and finely sliced
garlic 4 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
ripe tomatoes 600g, finely chopped (regular or cherry tomatoes, or a mixture, are fine)
sundried tomatoes 120g, finely chopped
red or white wine vinegar 1 tsp
ground cinnamon a good pinch
flat-leaf parsley 1 small bunch, leaves picked and finely chopped
dried oregano ½ tsp
butter beans 1 x 400g tin, drained and rinsed
feta cheese about 100g
mint or dill ½ small bunch, leaves picked and finely chopped
plain flour 150g, plus extra if needed
baking powder 1 tsp
vegetable oil for frying
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put enough olive oil in a frying pan to coat the base and place over a moderate heat. Add half the spring onions and half the garlic and fry for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add 100g fresh tomatoes and 1 tbsp of the sun-dried tomatoes, along with the vinegar, cinnamon, half of the parsley and the dried oregano, and cook for 5 minutes over a moderate heat to a thick, rich sauce.

Stir through the drained and rinsed beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes for the flavours to meld, then remove from the heat and crumble over the feta cheese. Put to one side somewhere warm.

In a large bowl, mix the remaining tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, spring onions, garlic and parsley together. Add the herbs and season to taste.

Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl, and gently mix them into the uncooked tomato mixture, until you have the consistency of a thick batter.

Heat about 4cm of oil in a large frying pan over a moderate to high heat. When the oil is hot, drop tablespoons of the batter into the pan in small batches and fry for about 2 minutes on both sides, until golden.

Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towels. Work in batches, keeping the cooked fritters somewhere warm while you cook the rest. Serve with the still-warm beans. (Or, eat as you go!)
New Kitchen Basics: 10 essential ingredients, 120 recipes: revolutionize the way you cook, every day by Claire Thomson (Quadrille, £25)

  • OFM’s 20 best tomato recipes part 2 launches tomorrow morning

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