Summer

Rosie Birkett's Tomatoes with Ricotta, Hazelnuts, and Salsa Verde

September 12, 2015
Photo by The Curious Pear
Author Notes

Rosie Birkett writes: "This is my seasonal riff on the classic tricolore (caprese) salad, using ricotta (homemade if you have time—it’s so easy!) and a salsa verde or green sauce, which is one of my all-time favorites. I grew up in the Kent countryside, and gathering cobnuts—wild British hazelnuts that grow during the summer—with my father is one of my happiest childhood memories. I love how fresh and milky they are, and tend to add them to most dishes at this time of year. Their creamy crunch works really well with the fruity acidity of ripe tomatoes. Try and seek out some really fantastic, sweet tomatoes for this dish, as it will elevate it into something truly special. For the salsa verde, I like to use seasonal herbs and, where I can, wild greens from my local area of Walthamstow marshes—we have an abundance of wild fennel, arugula, sorrel, and jack-of the hedge at this time of year. But just mix it up according to what you have available. Any leftover green sauce can be stored in a jar and used for slathering on eggs." —The Curious Pear

  • Serves 4 as a starter
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 24 ripe, sweet cherry tomatoes or 12 larger heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large handfuls broad beans
  • 6 teaspoons ricotta
  • 12 cobnuts, peeled and finely sliced (or use a handful of hazelnuts, chopped)
  • For the salsa verde:
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • 3 sprigs tarragon, leaves picked
  • 6 sorrel leaves, stems removed
  • 1 bunch basil, stems removed
  • 1 bunch wild arugula, stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed, peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons small capers, drained and left whole (if you can only find big ones, chop them up)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 grind black pepper
  • 1 pinch superfine sugar
  • 180 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Toss the tomatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, sherry vinegar, and salt and pepper while you assemble the other ingredients.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the broad beans for two minutes. Drain in a sieve and refresh immediately under cold water from the tap. Peel.
  3. Roughy chop the herbs for the salsa verde and then combine them with the garlic and mustard in a mini chopper of food processor.
  4. Remove to a mixing bowl and stir in the capers, salt and pepper, sugar, and oil. Add the vinegar, little by little, tasting as you go, until you've piqued the sauce with acidity. It needs to be punchy without losing the grassy, fresh quality of the herbs. Trust your palate and your judgement here and taste as you go—you want the sauce to make you salivate, in a good way.
  5. Divide the tomatoes between plates or spread out on a platter. Scatter over the broad beans and dot the ricotta around. Spoon over some salsa verde and top with the chopped cobnuts. Serve.

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Review
Best friends Issy and Meg have spent the last decade sitting across tables from each other, travelling the world knife and fork in hand. Photographing bowls of steaming noodles, exotic street food and some of the world's most exciting cooks, Issy makes up the photography side of the duo, while Meg records each bite in words. Considering their equal obsession for food and each other, it was inevitable that the two would eventually combine to become The Curious Pear, intent on bringing you reviews, food features and interviews with the culinary crowd, as well as pieces on their favourite eating spots from around the world. The Curious Pear are the contributing Food Editors at SUITCASE Magazine, bringing you a weekly food column at suitcasemag.com, as well as contributing for Time Out, Food52, Life & Thyme, Trends on Trends, Guest of a Guest and more!