This is a big hit with the Lewis family around this time of year. The dish has its origins in the fabulous produce of the Dún Laoghaire Farmers Market many years ago.
Unable to resist Jenny McNally’s vine-ripened baby tomatoes and red chillies, along with Denis Healy’s rocket, basil and wet garlic (which are at their very best at the moment), we started grilling the tomatoes on their own to accompany lamb cutlets or wild salmon. I then thought of stewing them in a casserole on the barbecue with garlic and olive oil from the Real Olive stall and then, finally, the addition of salty, creamy feta.
It was enhanced by a handful of Denis’s rocket and basil and the dish stuck. Without feta, it is the ideal accompaniment to salmon or, with the feta, it goes so well with lamb.
Feel free to add courgettes which are currently in season, and a few black olives, and you have the complete dish that every vegetarian will love you for.
It is versatile, flexible, seasonal and really quite delicious, we have found that this is a real crowd pleaser and our kids love it.
I usually cook it on a Big Green Egg, or any barbecue, with the lid down for some time, which incorporates a lovely, gentle smokiness to the dish.
Ross Lewis is chef-proprietor of Chapter One restaurant in Dublin
Vine ripened tomato stew with feta, rocket and basil
24 vine ripened baby plum tomatoes
150ml extra virgin olive oil
½ chilli, sliced finely
3 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
200g feta, cut into large cubes
15 basil leaves, cut in half
Handful of picked rocket leaves
Salt and pepper
1 Over a medium heat, warm the olive oil with the garlic and chilli for two minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down slightly.
2 Add the feta and after one minute add the basil and rocket and remove from the heat. Leave for two minutes and stir gently. Add a generous amount of ground black pepper and two or three pinches of Maldon salt.
3 Serve with toasted sourdough bread as a starter, or it is an ideal accompaniment to barbecued lamb chops at this time of year.
100 chefs have now contributed to this #ChefsAtHome series, which made its debut on March 23rd, 2020. This is the final recipe in the current series. Many thanks to Euro-Toques Ireland for collaborating on the project and to the chefs and cooks who shared their recipes. All 100 of them are available here