Confit Piccolo cherry tomatoes with butter beans, chorizo and saffron aioli

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Emily Watkins' warm salad of butter beans, chorizo and sweet confit Piccolo cherry tomatoes is a real crowdpleaser and makes a great lunch or side dish. She takes the tomato-flavoured oil leftover from the confit to create a punchy saffron aioli, which is a fantastic way to reduce food waste.

First published in 2019




Saffron aioli


Place the oil, saffron and bay in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and lower in the tomatoes. Turn the heat straight off and leave the tomatoes to cook gently in the oil for at least 20 minutes (they will stay safely in the oil for 48 hours if needed)
Meanwhile, finely slice the shallots and garlic and sweat down in a couple of tablespoons of light cooking oil
Cut the chorizo into chunks. Add to the shallots and sauté for a couple of minutes
Drain the tinned beans and add to the shallots and chorizo. Very carefully lift out the tomatoes from the oil and add them to the beans and chorizo
Remove the bay leaf from the oil, then pour the tomato-flavoured oil into a jug and leave to cool. You will need around 125ml of the oil for the aioli
To make the aioli, place the egg yolk in a bowl with a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Using a hand or an electric whisk, mix in the lemon juice and then very slowly start adding the oil. Whisk the mixture constantly, allowing the oil to become emulsified
Stir in the garlic, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary
Spoon the beans and tomato into bowls and tear the basil over the top. Serve with the aioli on the side

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Mother of three and previously chef-owner at The Kingham Plough, Oxfordshire, Emily Watkins has a lot on her proverbial plate. But it hasn’t stopped her from becoming one of Britain’s leading chefs.

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