Australian House & Garden - - Christmas Entertaining -

Prep: 15 mins + 3 hrs chill­ing. Serves 4.

1 large hand­ful basil leaves, plus ex­tra to serve

½ small clove gar­lic

⅓ cup (80ml) ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste

4 large heir­loom toma­toes, thickly sliced

or cut into wedges

200g mixed cherry toma­toes, halved or

thickly sliced

Quick-pick­led onion

1 small red onion, sliced into 3mm rounds 1 clove gar­lic, peeled and halved

1 small red chilli, halved length­ways

¾ cup (185ml) white-wine vine­gar

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp black pep­per­corns

To make quick-pick­led onion, sep­a­rate onion slices into rings, place in a sieve set over the sink and slowly pour hot wa­ter from a just-boiled ket­tle over to blanch. Drain well, then place in ster­ilised glass jar along with gar­lic and chilli. Place vine­gar, sugar, salt and pep­per­corns in a jug, stir un­til salt and sugar have dis­solved, then add enough pickle mix­ture to onions to cover com­pletely. Seal and re­frig­er­ate at least 3 hrs, up to 2 weeks.

Com­bine basil, gar­lic and a good pinch sea salt in a mor­tar and pes­tle and pound to a rough paste. Add olive oil and lemon juice to taste, pound to com­bine and sea­son to taste.

Ar­range toma­toes on a plat­ter and scat­ter with ex­tra basil leaves. Drain some of the pick­led onion and scat­ter over toma­toes, then driz­zle with basil dress­ing.

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