Hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt


The key words here are in the title: hot and cold. The beauty of this dish lies in the exciting contrast between hot, juicy tomatoes and fridge-cold yoghurt, so make sure the tomatoes are straight out of the oven and the yoghurt is straight out of the fridge. The heat of the tomatoes will make the cold yoghurt melt, invitingly, so make sure you have plenty of crusty sourdough or focaccia, to mop it all up. Serves four as a starter or mezze.


350g cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
¾ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp light brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
3 sprigs thyme
5g fresh oregano, 3 sprigs left whole, the rest picked and roughly chopped, to serve
1 lemon – zest of one half shaved off in 3 wide strips, the other half grated
Flaked sea salt and black pepper
350g fridge-cold extra-thick Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp urfa chilli flakes (or ½ tsp regular chilli flakes)


Heat the oven to 200C/425F/gas mark 7. Put the tomatoes in a baking dish that’s just large enough to accommodate them all snugly. Add the oil, cumin, sugar, garlic, thyme, oregano sprigs, lemon strips, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to blister and the liquid is bubbling, then turn the oven to the grill setting and grill for six to eight minutes, until the tomatoes start to blacken on top.

While the tomatoes are roasting, mix the yoghurt with the grated lemon zest and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then return to the fridge.

Once the tomatoes are ready, spread out the chilled yoghurt on a platter (with a lip) or wide shallow bowl, and make a few dips in it here and there with the back of a spoon. Spoon the hot tomatoes on top, as well as the pan juices, lemon peel, garlic and herbs, and finish with the remaining oregano and chilli. Serve at once with some good crusty bread.