I’ve never really been a toast girl. I mean, I’ve eaten a frankly obscene amount of it in my life, especially as a child, but later in my life I’ve never considered it a decent breakfast, and the thought of choking down soggy toast covered in beans makes me feel so ill that I wonder if I’m a Yorkshire girl at all.
Lately, though, I’ve begun to appreciate the sheer brilliance of a great slice of high-quality bread, toasted well, and topped with something simple but gorgeous; last week, my friend Craig made us garlic mushrooms on toast and with some black coffee and the Sunday papers, it was some kind of heaven.
I’m really into Harissa right now (okay, always) and while most people cut it with yogurt, I love to pair it with a little squeeze of lemon and some fresh basil for a very layered but not too complicated flavour. Some good quality olive oil will bring all these elements together beautifully.
a good splash of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Harissa paste (less if you’re not quite up for spicy mouth afterwards; I love the heat!)
1 or 2 slices of good-quality bread from a local baker – choose your favourite!*
a few large fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
a good, large handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and black pepper
Place the bread into the toaster on your favoured setting
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and stir in the Harissa paste
Add in the cherry tomatoes and toss well in the Harissa oil
Bring up to a high heat and cook for a couple of minutes
Add in the basil leaves, squeeze on the lemon and toss to mix well
Spoon the mixture out onto the two slices of toast (“buttered” with your favourite vegan spread if you must) then dust with salt and pepper, and serve immediately
*Mine was sunflower and pumpkin seed whole wheat.
Pro tip: don’t put your pan into the sink when you’ve finished cooking! Put it aside then when you’re almost done eating, take that last bit of lonely toast and use it to wipe the remnants of everything holy and delicious off the pan with the bit of toast. A little burny, a little scorched, a whole lot of awesome.