This is a simple side dish that I came up with last night and loved so incredibly much that now I feel as though it’s the only side dish I want all summer. It’s the perfect accompaniment to grilled anything, really – I marinated chicken skewers and put them in for the final twenty minutes, which was pretty much perfect, but I could see this working with big grilled portobello mushrooms, or steak, or even just toasted bread and grilled haloumi cheese or hummus and rocket.
The tomatoes and peaches became so incredibly sweet and juicy during the cooking time (and I’m talking peaches which were a bit hard when I put them in the oven, so consider this an excellent way to use fruit which may be a little on the imperfect side), and they are just *so very good*. Sorry, I’m not being very descriptive or coherent here. Just trust me when I say that this is a very low-effort vegetable side that tastes spectacular and will bring a beautiful touch of summer to your dinner.
Incidentally, today is, of course, Australia Day, an occasion that I am essentially ignoring in this post. Nonetheless, as I type this, I am engaged in prolonged warfare with my oven over a properly patriotic pavlova, which my oven keeps deciding to cook at 200°C instead of 120°C. (If this post is disjointed, it’s because I am constantly having to leap up and run out to the kitchen to turn the temperature back down after the oven cheerily announces – again – that it has raised the temperature. I would like to pretend that the slightly blackened, or caramelised, as we like to call these things, pavlova is a deliberate symbolic reference to our sunburnt country, but really, it’s just about the fact that my oven is possessed by demons.)
Anyway, all of this is pretty much taking over the space in my head that might be devoted to writing thoughtful posts about Australia Day, a holiday about which I am ambivalent for a number of reasons. In lieu of writing anything new, I therefore present this essay, which I wrote back in 2007, about what I think it means to be Australian. I’ve probably posted it here before, but I make no apology for that. I admit, it isn’t perfect. My opinions have evolved – and perhaps become stronger, in response to our government’s shameful treatment of refugees – but it still represents a very large part of what I think it means to be Australian, so I think it is appropriate for this occasion. (And I can’t help noticing that my younger self managed to go off on a digression about food in the middle of it. Of course.)
However you feel about this day, I hope it is a good one for you – and for the Aussies reading this, enjoy the day off tomorrow! Because let’s face it – we don’t really care what the excuse is, so long as it means we don’t have to go to work…
Your Shopping List (serves 2)2 peaches, preferably not the clingstone variety, because why make your life harder? 2 medium-large tomatoes, or 2 big Roma tomatoes 1 smallish red onion olive oil salt, pepper, dried oregano or dried basil 1 tbsp brown sugar 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Now what will you do with it?
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Halve the peaches, and cut each half into quarters. Do the same with the tomatoes (if you are using smaller tomatoes, just quarter them and use more.
Halve the onion, and slice vertically (ie, at right angles to where you would cut them if you wanted masses of rings) fairly thickly.
Combine the tomatoes, peaches and onions in a metal or cast iron baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and your herbs.
Bake for 20 minutes. After twenty minutes, turn everything, add the vinegar and sugar, and turn again. You could also add chicken skewers or your protein of choice to the tray at this point.
Bake for a further 20 minutes until the tomatoes and peaches are soft and juicy and a bit collapsed, and the kitchen smells amazing.
Serve with the protein of your choice, and some bread to mop up all the juices. Be delighted.
Nectarines would work well here instead of the peaches, and tarragon is another herb you could play with. This recipe is of course vegan, gluten-free and nut-free, and is also not too bad on the GI stakes (though it is, of course, quite sweet, so watch that). It isn’t low fructose, sorry.
You could also skip the baking part of this recipe and make these ingredients into a salad – though I’d use fresh herbs instead of the dried ones, and would skip the sugar but add a little more vinegar.
One year ago: Bonus Farmers’ Market with Smoked Garlic and Surprises
Two years ago: Things I probably shouldn’t know about