I had no idea of what to make for lunch today, I wanted something quick and easy yet also incredibly vibrant and sumptuous and then I saw Raphael Deli’s wonderful Greek breakfast of tomatoes, ricotta with oregano and smoked sea salt on rustic bread. I immediately jumped away from my desk in order to drizzle some luscious plum tomatoes with olive oil before sprinkling them with wild oregano and smoked sea salt and whacking them in the oven. As they slowly caramelised, I was immediately transported to last year’s visit to my beloved Corfu old town where we came across an unpretentious taverna whose brightly lit dining room was presided over by poignant black and white photos of earlier generations, a beautiful saint pointing to words in a holy book, a frayed Greek flag and an old clock. The cook, an unsmiling and impressively efficient woman draped in a mannish shirt, plated up dish after dish from several large trays on her counter – this was very definitely her territory as anyone who tried to help her was very quickly shoved away with a flick of her arm. Here we feasted from a paper covered table crowded with plates of fragrant stuffed peppers and tomatoes, gigantes beans smothered in an oily tomato sauce and liberally garnished with dried oregano leaves, a bright stew of carrots, peas and artichokes, cool tzatziki and potatoes deep-fried in olive oil. I will never forget that lunch and I was so happy to be transported back there today. For that reason, I would like to give a shout out to Zoi not only for inspiring me but also for everything she does to bring us high quality olive oil and olives from her farm in Crete and for her loving support of passionate Mediterranean cooks such as me.
x4 plum tomatoes, cut in half
Greek extra-virgin olive oil
Cornish smoked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
200g feta cheese, room temperature
80g light crème fraîche, room temperature
Two slices of sourdough
1 clove of garlic, peeled
Greek extra-virgin olive oil
Half a lemon, zested
Wild oregano, to garnish
Pul biber, to garnish
How I make it
Heat an oven to 150C.
Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with as much oregano and sea salt as you like (lots in my case). Place them in the oven and gently roast for two hours – this will make your kitchen smell so dreamy that you too will be transported. Remove from the oven and set side to cool a little.
In the meantime, crumble the feta into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Add the crème fraîche and purée until the feta is super creamy and smooth.
To assemble, toast the sourdough and rub it with garlic. Spread generously with the whipped feta and place the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the lemon zest, a light sprinkling of wild oregano and pul biber.