Ollie's signature dish, ripe tomato on toast

Ripe tomato on toast


Here, the key is in the contrasts: a thin crisp toast that contrasts with the fleshy tomato; a smokiness from grilling the bread that contrasts to the sweetness of what lies atop. Ciabatta is absolutely fine in this recipe but if you can find “pan cristal” or “glass bread” from a speciality Spanish grocer, then do stock up on this, as it goes incomparably crisp when toasted. When marinating the tomatoes, do so in a single layer to ensure the seasoning is evenly applied. It is really important, when preparing something this simple, to do it perfectly. The extra attention to detail doesn’t add to the workload, but it does add to the enjoyment of the finished dish. White balsamic is a brilliant ingredient, widely available, but Chardonnay, sherry or regular balsamic vinegar would all work fine.





1          Garlic clove, split, dipped in fine salt


            Ripe tomatoes


3 tbsp   White balsamic vinegar

1 tsp     Salt

1 tsp     Sugar

3 tbsp   Extra virgin olive oil


6          Basil stems, bruised

3          Rosemary sprigs, bruised


-           Take a split clove of garlic and dip in fine salt. Rub this all over the platter or roasting tray that you will use to marinade the tomatoes. Save this garlic for later for the bread.


-           Slice the tomatoes with a sharp serrated knife just under 1cm and place them flat on the large roasting tray or platter.


-           For the dressing, blend everything together then spoon or brush over the tomatoes individually and generously, slice by slice.


-           Bruise the basil and rosemary by rubbing vigorously between your hands, then distribute evenly on top of the tomato slices.


-           Leave at room temp for 1-2 hours, then baste the tomatoes with the juices.


-           Leave for another hour then repeat and remove the aromats, which will have wilted.




8 thin slices       Ciabatta (5mm thick, ideally) or Glass bread

1                      Garlic clove, (reserved from earlier)

4 tbsp               Olive oil

32                     Basil leaves (save the nicest ones for on top).

12                     Pitted black olives, washed and halved


-           Grill the ciabatta on both sides in the chargrill pan until lightly charred and crispy, then drizzle over the olive oil, and rub with the cut side of the reserved garlic.


-           Drizzle generously with the oil. Top each with 2 pieces of basil, ripped.


-           Top with the tomato slices to cover the surface of the bread.


-           Scatter over the olives and remaining basil, then serve immediately.

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