Tomatoes with Catalan toast and raw ham
While my kitchen is being renovated, I have been learning to use the microwave. Until now this machine has been used exclusively for reheating soup, or portions of stew, or melting butter, or reheating the mugs of tea I brew and then forget when I am writing. As a starter my salads are now more sustaining, with red-skinned potatoes cooked in the microwave for three minutes with some whole garlic cloves dropped in the dish after the first minute and all tossed while warm with drops of the best extra virgin olive oil. And I can now produce some interesting vegetable dishes such as the tomato and baked egg dish below.
Photo: Marina Oliphant
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- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 30g butter
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large free-range egg
- large slice of substantial bread, such as sourdough
- ½ clove garlic, peeled
- 1-2 slices raw ham (e.g. prosciutto crudo or jamon) sliced paper-thin
- fresh herbs, for garnishing (optional)
Halve tomatoes crosswise. Reserve one half. Put the other 5 halves in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain, rinse quickly under cold water and strip off and discard the skins.
Cut each half into 3 or 4 pieces. Select a microwave-safe dish that will just hold the tomatoes without much extra space. Slip in the tomatoes and the butter. Add a little salt and pepper and cover the pan tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap and cook on 100 per cent power for 3 minutes. Pierce plastic wrap quickly with a knife, stir and cook again for 2 minutes without re-covering. The tomatoes will have melted into a beautiful pink-gold thick sauce.
Carefully break the egg on top of the tomatoes. Pierce the membrane covering the yolk twice with the tip of a very sharp knife or a skewer. Spoon a little of the hot tomato over the egg white. Cover the dish, this time with a sheet of paper towel, and cook for 2 minutes. The white will be just set.
While the tomatoes and egg are cooking, toast the bread. It should be well toasted and very crunchy. While hot gently rub the toast with the garlic and then firmly rub it with the remaining cut tomato. The toast will look quite pink at the end of this process and the tomato will be mostly skin and can be discarded. Cut toast in half and divide the ham on top.
Place tomato and egg dish on a heated plate with the Catalan toast on the side. Garnish with herbs if desired.