Pomodorini scattarisciati – crackling cherry tomatoes (Puglia) – Italian home cooking

pomodori scattarisciati

Update: summer 2022, Lucca: with top Italian pomodorini this dish is even more spectacular. I noticed they improve after a good rest, i.e. the day after they were even better.

Original version:
It is now summer, or at least this is what the calendar says; it has been raining for days here in London and the sky is grey, an elegant pearly shade of grey, but grey nonetheless. Not fun. To raise my endorphins, I decided to make this Apulian tomato sauce, pomodorini scattarisciati, literally crackling tomatoes (in the local dialect) — vibrant, intensely tomatoey and uplifting.

The cherry tomatoes are fried in a rather indecent amount of oil, on high heat,  uncovered until they start bursting. This is when you have to resist the temptation to keep on cooking them, as you would do with a normal tomato sauce – pomodorini scattarisciati are a cross between a chunky tomato sauce and whole, fried tomatoes. You can crush some of the tomatoes during cooking but, at least in my book (as usual, there are many versions of this dish), most of the tomatoes should remain whole, albeit in a squashed sort of way. The final result is this glorious mess, part sauce, part vegetable dish. You can add stoned black olives, capers, some basil too if you wish, at the very end. Pomodorini scattarisciati make an excellent pasta sauce but they are also divine spooned (at room temperature) over toasted bread or over some mozzarella. The beauty of this method is that it works well also with less than glorious tomatoes (an English speciality).

This is more a method than a recipe:

Wash some cherry tomatoes and dry them with a cloth. In a roomy saucepan, warm up an implausible amount of olive oil: generosity is paramount here. You can add a clove or two of unpeeled garlic and/or a little fresh red chilli, if you wish. When the garlic is light golden, remove it; by now the oil should be shimmering. Add the tomatoes: be careful, because they will splatter and crackle. Add some salt. Keep the flame high, do not cover (some people do, but I prefer a more aggressive cooking)  and stir occasionally, crushing some tomatoes along the way. When most of the tomatoes are just short of bursting or have just burst, switch off. You could add some stoned black olives, capers or basil, if you wish. Serve either hot as a sauce or at room temperature over toasted bread or even better over some mozzarella on toasted bread. Pomodorini scattarisciati are much better if left to rest for few hours.

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