This is what to do with peak summer tomatoes when you can't eat another caprese salad or BLT. Extra-virgin olive oil is warmed over low heat with spices, fresh herbs and garlic until fragrant and sizzling. The warm oil is then drizzled over sliced tomatoes, preferably ones that have never seen refrigeration. The spiced oil "wakes up" the tomatoes. It's a quicker way to evoke the flavor of tomatoes marinated for hours in the sun, a technique I learned in Italy.
I keep this salad dead simple, finishing with flaky sea salt, a little chili for a kick and a squeeze of lemon, if my tomatoes need a jolt of acidity. It's the kind of summer side dish that tastes even better if it's had a chance to sit on the counter for a bit. I like to serve it with lots of crusty bread for sopping up the accumulated juices at the bottom of the bowl - this is THE move.
Feel free to substitute the harissa spice with harissa paste or sauce, your favorite dried spice or mix of spice mix. I've riffed on this dish with za'atar, crushed fennel seed and coriander seed to delicious results!
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- 1/ 3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspooon your favorite spice blend, such as harissa powder
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 1/ 2 pounds tomatoes, sliced if large
- Flaky sea salt, to taste
- Dried chili flakes, optional
- Lemon juice, as needed, optional
In a small saucepan, combine olive oil, harissa spice, herbs and garlic. Heat gently over low heat until herbs start to sizzle.
Arrange tomatoes in shallow bowl or rimmed platter (to catch the juices!)
Just before serving, spoon or pour warm sizzling oil over tomatoes.
Season with salt, dried chili and a squeeze of lemon, if desired.