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Charred Cherry Tomatoes With Cold Yogurt


  • 12 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp light brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 6 oregano sprigs: 3 sprigs left whole and the rest stemmed, to serve
  • 1 lemon: finely shave the skin of  ½ to get 3 strips, then finely grate the other ½ to get 1 tsp zest
  • Flaked sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 2∕3 cups/350g extra-thick Greek-style yogurt, fridge-cold
  • 1 tsp Urfa chile flakes (or ½ tsp other crushed red pepper flakes)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, cumin, sugar, garlic, thyme, oregano sprigs, lemon strips, ½ teaspoon of flaked salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix to combine, then transfer to a baking sheet just large enough—about 6 x 8 inches/15 x 20 centimeters— to fit all the tomatoes together snugly. Place the sheet about 2 inches/5 centimeters beneath the broiler and roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to blister and the liquid is bubbling. Turn the oven to the broil setting and broil for 6 to 8 minutes, until the tomatoes start to blacken on top.
  3. While the tomatoes are roasting, combine the yogurt with the grated lemon zest and ¼ tsp of flaked salt. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
  4. Once the tomatoes are ready, spread the chilled yogurt on a platter (with a lip) or in a wide, shallow bowl, creating a dip in it with the back of a spoon. Spoon the hot tomatoes on top, along with their juices, lemon strips, garlic, and herbs, and finish with the oregano leaves and chile flakes. Serve at once.