, Step by step

Heritage tomato platter with extra virgin olive oil

Serve as the centerpiece of a fabulous Italian lunch for friends.

Mark Stower, Director of Food and Service.

Preparation Time: 10-15 mins

Cooking Time: 0 mins

Serves: 6


  • Step 1

    Leave the tomatoes out of the fridge for at least 8 hours.

  • Step 2

    Cut the larger tomatoes into large chunks and leave the cherry ones whole. Place all on a large platter.

  • Step 3

    Mix together the chopped shallot, basil and olive oil and spoon this over the tomatoes.

  • Step 4

    Season with cracked pepper and sea salt and garnish with the pea shoots.


Tomatoes – vegetable or fruit? Although we use them as cooked or salad vegetables, they are technically fruits because they contain seeds.

It’s believed that tomatoes first came to England from Peru in Elizabethan times – people initially thought they must be poisonous because of their red colour.

Heritage or heirloom tomatoes, grown in the UK, have become much more widely available in recent years. They are cultivated from seeds from all over the world and come in different shades of red, orange, yellow and green and different shapes and sizes, with subtle variations in flavour.

Mark’s simple yet delicious recipe is really nutritious. Not only are tomatoes full of vitamin C, but the red ones are also full of an important antioxidant – lycopene – that gives them their colour. There’s good evidence that consuming lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes regularly is associated with a lower risk of some cancers.

In fact, cooking tomatoes, especially with a little oil, helps release the lycopene from the cells of the tomatoes and makes it easier for our bodies to absorb. Just one tomato or seven cherry tomatoes counts as one of your five a day.