Heirloom tomatoes, pickled shallots, purslane, puffed rice

Heirloom tomatoes, pickled shallots, purslane, puffed rice

New Classics
Mark Roper

The choice of tomatoes available these days is amazing – black Russians, oxheart and zebra striped are just a few of the varieties you can now buy or grow. I love the juicy tomatoes and sweet watermelon juxtaposed with the salty, herby feta. The rice adds a nutty crunch and the shallots add gentle acidity and more pink!


Quantity Ingredient
3 shallots, thinly sliced
40g wild rice
1 litre canola oil
1/2 bunch basil, leaves picked
200ml extra-virgin olive oil
1kg tomatoes, a nice colourful mix of heirloom and truss
1/4 watermelon
salt and pepper
150ml pomegranate dressing, (see below)
1 bunch purslane
250g marinated persian feta

Pickling liquid

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar
100ml white wine vinegar
100ml water
1 teaspoon salt
4 allspice berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Pomegranate dressing

Quantity Ingredient
60ml tarragon vinegar
65ml lime juice
80ml pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
60g fresh ginger, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
375ml extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Put all the pickling liquid ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Strain through a sieve and add the sliced shallots to the hot liquid. Steep for a minimum of 1 hour, then strain.
  2. Deep-fry the wild rice in the oil at 200°C until puffed. Drain on paper towel. Set aside to cool.
  3. Have a bowl of iced water at hand and a slotted spoon. Blanch the basil leaves in salted boiling water for 30 seconds and then plunge into the iced water. Drain and squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Blend the basil well in a food processor. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and combine.
  4. Roughly slice the tomatoes and watermelon randomly and toss in a bowl with salt and pepper and the pomegranate dressing.
  5. For the pomegranate dressing, combine all the ingredients in a food processor, except the extra-virgin olive oil. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the oil gradually, until smooth and emulsified. Drain through a fine sieve and set aside.
  6. To serve

    Arrange the tomato and watermelon mix onto plates. Top with the purslane, crumbled feta chunks, wild rice puffs and pickled shallots. Drizzle with the basil oil.
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