Pili-pili Tomato Salad

Pili-pili Tomato Salad

11/4lb (600 g) ripe tomatoes
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
For the pili-pili hot relish:
4 oz (120 g) small fresh red chilli peppers
3 cloves garlic
1 large red pepper
1 medium-sized mild onion
approx. 5 fi oz (150 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

You can buy pili-pili relish from good delicatessens; in some versions tiny chillis are used and left whole. If you prefer to make your own relish, store it in very small batches in the freezer and thaw on the clay you plan to use it as it does not keep well once thawed. Rinse the chillis, remove their stalks and the surrounding tough parts, place in the food processor with the peeled garlic cloves and process until very smooth and creamy. Rinse the red pepper and cut lengthwise into quarters; remove the stalk, seeds and white membrane. Chop coarsely. Chop the onion very finely. Add the peppers and the salt to the pureed chillis in the food processor or blender and process at high speed, adding a very little olive oil at a time in a thin trickle through the hole in the lid. Stop adding the oil once the mixture is very smooth and thick, rather like a bright red mayonnaise. Add the onion and process for 2-3 seconds only, just long enough to distribute the pieces evenly.

Transfer to very small, non-transparent freezer containers with very tightly sealing lids and freeze until required.

When you want to use the pili-pili, thaw if you have used very tiny containers, or use the tip of a strong knife to scrape off the required quantity from a still- frozen portion. Mix this with a very little olive oil and a pinch of salt and use as a very hot dip for crudites or as an added flavouring and seasoning for a wide variety of dishes or sauces; do not mix with oil and salt before adding to the latter. Pili-pili is very good in minute quantities with vegetable omelettes, and with fresh or matured cheeses. Wash the tomatoes (use the full-flavoured, oval variety if you can buy or grow them), neatly remove the stalk and all the tough, fibrous parts (see page 14), cut lengthwise in half and discard all the seeds. Place cut side uppermost on a large serving platter and sprinkle with the parsley. Place 1-2 tsp pili-pili in a bowl with a pinch of salt and gradually beat in 6 tbsp olive oil; sprinkle all over the tomatoes.

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