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Tomato on Toast, Handmade Sheep's Ricotta

Try this starter recipe by Dan Hunter, demonstrated at Langham Melbourne MasterClass during the 2012 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.


  • Tomato

  • 2 large sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes, e.g. beefsteak mineral salt

  • Toasted Sourdough

  • Whole wheat sourdough loaf

  • Candied Olive

  • This recipe should be made in large quantities – the following amount will yield enough for around 100 portions.

  • 125g pitted Manzanilla olives

  • 62.5g caster sugar

  • Dehydrated Capers

  • As with the olives, the capers can be made in large quantities and then kept in vacuum bags.

  • 25g salted tiny capers, rinsed

  • Small amount of olive oil

  • Sheep's Ricotta

  • 250ml sheep’s milk

  • 5ml white wine vinegar

  • Tomato Water

  • 500g tomato pulp

  • 5g sugar

  • 1g salt

  • Tomato Vinaigrette

  • 160g strained tomato water

  • 20g olive oil

  • 12g aged muscatel vinegar

  • Chopped chives

  • Basil Leaves

  • 4 leaves each of varying basils including: cinnamon, dark opal, Genovese, holy, lemon, spice, large leaf, Thai, East Indian clove, sweet.


  • Tomato:

  • 1.

    Slice each tomato into 2 even slices around 1.5 cm thick.

  • 2.

    Season with mineral salt and leave on a tray until needed.

  • 3.

    These will be warmed to order.

  • Toasted Sourdough:

  • 1.

    To make the toast cut the sourdough into even sized pieces and place it on a tray to dry for anywhere between 24 and 48 hours.

  • 2.

    Once completely dehydrated, process the pieces, pulsing at high speed in a food processor, into a coarse crumb consistency.

  • 3.

    Place the crumb into a fine sieve to get rid of the powder and then a coarser sieve to achieve a consistent even sized bread crumb.

  • 4.

    Toast the crumbs in olive oil until golden. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

  • 5.

    Once cooled combine the toasted bread, the candied olive and the capers together at a ratio of 4 : 1¼ : ¼ or 500g – 156.25g – 31.25g.

  • 6.

    Portion the crumb into dariole moulds or something similar allowing 8g per portion.

  • 7.

    Wrap tightly and leave at room temperature until needed.

  • Candied Olive:

  • 1.

    Wash the olives thoroughly of any brine and chop them roughly.

  • 2.

    Spread the olives onto a baking tray and cover them with half the sugar, ensuring that it is spread evenly. Place the olives to dry in a warm place in the kitchen at 30–40°C, leaving them for around 8 hours.

  • 3.

    At this stage combine the olives with the remaining sugar and transfer them to a dehydrator until completely dry.

  • 4.

    Chop them further by hand if necessary.

  • 5.

    Once dried, reserve the olives vacuum sealed.

  • Dehydrated Capers:

  • 1.

    Rinse the capers, pat dry and sauté them in a little olive oil. It’s important that they colour but do not burn as they can become bitter.

  • 2.

    Once toasted, place the capers on absorbent paper removing any excess oil and then transfer them to a dehydrator set at 55°C.

  • 3.

    Dehydrate the capers for around 12 hours or until completely dry.

  • 4.

    Store the dehydrated capers under vacuum until needed.

  • Sheep's Ricotta:

  • 1.

    Place the sheep’s milk in a pot and while stirring slowly bring it to 80°C.

  • 2.

    Add the vinegar, stir more vigorously to assist in separating the curd, and continue to heat the milk to 85°C.

  • 3.

    Once at 85°C remove the pot from the heat and pass the milk through a paper filter reserving the ‘ricotta’. Season and store covered in a warm place until needed.

  • Tomato Water:

  • 1.

    Combine tomato pulp, sugar and salt.

  • 2.

    Roughly crush the pulp by hand and place it into a fine cloth, leaving it to hang and

  • 3.

    Filter the juice.

  • Tomato Vinaigrette:

  • 1.

    Once completely drained combine the tomato water with the olive oil and vinegar and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add a good amount of finely chopped chives.

  • 2.

    Reserve the vinaigrette sealed and refrigerated until needed.

  • Basil Leaves:

  • 1.

    Using scissors cut the basil leaves from the plant leaving a little bit of stem attached. Wipe any dirt from the leaves with a cloth as wetting them excessively can make them turn black.

  • 2.

    Portion the basil leaves into separate containers allowing one of each variety per portion. Store refrigerated until needed

  • To Serve:

  • 1.

    Cover the tomatoes with film and place them to warm in a low oven (100°C) for no more than 5 minutes.

  • 2.

    In a shallow bowl, using a mould, place the toasted bread mix in a perfect round in the centre. Remove the tomatoes from the oven, season them with salt and place them on top of the ‘toast’. Dress the tomato liberally with the tomato vinaigrette so that it falls off the sides and combines a little with bread mix. Place a large spoon of the warm sheep’s ricotta on top of the tomato and then scatter the basil. Dress the dish liberally with olive oil and serve.


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