Tuesday, July 13, 2010

World Class Tomato Salad For A World Cup Final Game.

 All Saturday before the World Cup was to be played I had Tapas on my mind. Maybe it was Spain being in the finals, maybe it was that psychic octopus from the German zoo. Who knows why one gets tapas on the brain, but there they were. So did that make me go on a quest for tapas? No. It did make me go looking for a recipe for that days'  lunch that would take a minimum of preparation for a maximum of game watching.
   A friend told me once that the reason for Americans not taking to football (soccer) like the rest of the world is the fact that the sport moves too fast and there are no natural breaks for commercials the way there are in basketball, football or baseball. It wasn't the commercial breaks I was worried about, it was the cooking breaks! Nothing's worse than trying to cook in one room and hear the game over the sound of vuvuzuelas. "Turn it up!" "No, turn it down!" "Turn it up!" "What's happening?"
   That, was what I was trying to avoid. The answer was a simple, spicy marinated Indian chicken grilled in a few minutes, and a tasty soothing tomato salad to balance it all out.
   The chicken was a breeze, no muss no fuss. I didn't even have to marinate it overnight, since I forgot and it turned out great anyway! Can't beat that!
   So this post is in two parts, The Chicken and The Tomato. Which came first?
The Chicken.
Gather some skinned pieces of chicken. I used chicken breasts. This rub is good for about 2 lbs worth of chicken.
  Make up the spice paste. In a spice grinder or blender mix together:
1 Tbs of black peppercorns
1 Tbs of paprika
1/2 tsp of cayenne
1 Tbs of garam masala
2 tsp of ground cumin
2 tsp of dried oregano
1 and 1/4 tsp of salt
1 peeled chopped shallot
3 Tbs of vegetable oil
2 Tbs of lemon juice
2 Tbs of yogurt
When it's all together, slash the skinned chicken pieces with a knife. Go all Norman Bates on it.

Then rub the marinade in well.
  Set the chicken aside in the fridge for about an hour. You can do this ahead of time, but even if you don't, no worries. This works.
   When you're ready, grill the chicken.
  Now for The Tomato.
   This came about because the most insane, fresh, delicious tomatoes were on sale for 89 cents a pound. 89 cents! My magic number. Of course I had to have some. This is what I did.
    In a deep skillet or kadhai heat :
1 Tbs of butter
When it's melted toss in:
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
As soon as they start to turn color add in:
1/8 tsp of turmeric
2 chopped shallots
1 green chili finely chopped. Stir things around a bit.

Then add in 3 cups of chopped tomato.

Don't worry about peeling or seeding it's not necessary. Besides there's that Spanish coach to get back to.
He doesn't look happy. Perhaps he's dreaming of octopus tapas??
  Turn the heat down and cover the pan of tomatoes. Let them cook for about 10 minutes or so. Check in on them once in a while, make sure nothing's sticking.
   When they're done, take the pan off the heat. Let the tomatoes cool down. Watch the players heat up until you see their Game Face.
    When the tomatoes have cooled down put them in a bowl
And add in:
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of sugar
2 Tbs of peanut powder
3 Tbs of yogurt
3 Tbs of sour cream
Mix everything in well, scatter 2 Tbs of chopped fresh cilantro over the top.
  One final stir, and you are in business.
  Spicy grilled chicken, a side of simple green salad and the tomato and yogurt dish makes it an easy meal.
  Minimal time in the kitchen, maximum time watching the game! With a dish like this, who needs octopus?


  1. awesome tomato salad fresh and delicious!

  2. Kathy,
    A delicious combo of tomato salad and grilled chicken. Can the chicken be grilled on stove-top grill? I just placed an order of a 2-burner grill and am looking forward to using it..a lot!

  3. Great looking dish for what turned out to be a pretty good game.

    You know I've often wondered why Soccer has not got the following in the US it does on the rest of the planet. I thought it was the chance they may never win the cup. They always have the World series to fall back on but only 2 countries take part in that...go figure.

  4. That chicken looks fab! And where do you get wonderful tomatoes at that incredible price? Where I live, they charge an arm and a leg for stuff that has all the taste and texture of cotton balls... :(( I guess I need to move to Sonoma?

  5. While the World Cup may be over tapas still sounds good to me. I have actually never tried making it on my own, I have always got it at restaurants.

  6. I wonder what will happen to Paul now.... since the game is over. Sushi?

  7. @penny aka jeroxie,
    Paul the octopus might be in big trouble as Octopus is so popular in so many International cuisines..being Italian I know how I like my Paul.

  8. That tomato dish looks incredible and like it would totally soothe your mouth after a spicy bite of chicken. Wow.

  9. @Frank,
    There are so many amazing vegetables at our farmers markets..I couldn't believe the price either



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