With very few ingredients, this traditional peasant dish from Menorca depends upon the ripeness and quality of the tomatoes, capsicums and even garlic.
- 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) ripe tomatoes
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper), thinly sliced
- 2 salad onions, sliced into rings
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- sea salt flakes
- 8 thin slices sourdough
- 4 figs, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Using a sharp knife, score a cross in the base of the tomatoes. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the tomatoes for 2 minutes or until the skins start to curl away from the flesh. Immediately drain and plunge into iced water, then peel away the skins and roughly chop the flesh.
- Heat the oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 3 minutes, until the garlic is golden on all sides. Add the tomato, capsicum and half the onion. Increase the heat to medium–high and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the capsicum is soft. Add 1.5 litres (51 fl oz/6 cups) of water, then reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the remaining onion, the sherry vinegar, 100 ml (3½ fl oz) of water and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes, then strain off the liquid and transfer the onion to a small serving bowl.
- Heat a chargrill pan over medium heat and toast the bread on both sides until slightly charred. Place in the base of each serving bowl.
- Just before serving, find the garlic cloves in the soup and squash them with the back of a spoon to incorporate into the mixture. Ladle the soup over the bread, top with a few slices of macerated onion and drizzle over a little oil. Serve with the figs and remaining onion on the table.
Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99