The classic tomato salad conjures an image of a bowl filled with diced, bright red tomato flesh flecked with green parsley leaves and arcs of white onion. But when you replace those classic Roma or Truss tomatoes with Kumatos – a darker, sweeter variety with origins in Spain – a different style of dish emerges.
That’s according to Paul Farag, head chef at Nour, who has been putting his own creative spin on Levantine food (a region encompassing Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Greece, Egypt, Iraq and the Palestinian territories) since 2016.
Farag says Kumato tomatoes are versatile enough for home or restaurant cooking – particularly for salads, which benefit from Kumato’s firmness and colour. (You can tell a salad-ready Kumato by its firm touch and greenish hue). But they’re also well-equipped for a little tinkering. Case in point: Farag’s Middle Eastern-inspired tomato salad.
“Traditionally, the dressing for a salad like this is just cumin and minced garlic that gets rubbed into the tomatoes and left out for hours,” he says. “The result is pretty punchy – it kind of rips your head off. This one is a little [mellower], a little more modern.” It also goes with any meal. “Honestly, you can eat this any time,” he says. “Because it’s quite acidic, it goes well with meat, or you can [even] just have it in a pita pocket.”
Here’s how to make Paul Farag’s Kumato Salata at home.
Paul Farag’s Kumato Salata
Preparation time: 1 hour
300g firm Kumato tomatoes (firmer tomatoes will be a green to green-brown colour)
100g red onion
3 sprigs of continental parsley
20g sea salt
1 garlic clove
1 tsp cumin seeds
25ml preserved lemon juice (fresh is fine too)
125ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp sumac
Slice onion finely. Add a generous amount of salt and massage it in using your hands. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Slice Kumato tomatoes horizontally, spreading out on a tray. Sprinkle salt over the top and leave to macerate for 15 minutes.
While these are resting, prepare the dressing. Toast cumin seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Using a mortar and pestle, crush seeds finely, but not quite into a powder.
In a separate bowl, micro-slice the raw garlic. Add toasted cumin seeds, lemon juice and olive oil.
The red onion should now be bright purple and smaller in size. Use a colander and hands to squeeze out excess liquid until dry. Add sumac and sherry vinegar.
Assemble the salad and fold parsley through. Spoon dressing over the top and serve.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Kumato Tomatoes.