I can’t believe I am writing this post about how to slow roast tomatoes because it’s so easy.
But perhaps you’ve never thought about something so simple to include for a summer dinner party, BBQ, or just a snack with leftover cheese.
Antipasto is a traditional Italian first course. It means quite literally “before the meal” and includes cold cured meats, olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, hard and soft cheeses, and vegetables pickled in oil or vinegar. Its purpose is to whet the appetite and thirst of your guests in anticipation of the main meal, (might I suggest my traditional pasta bolognese recipe) whilst providing something to eat with an aperitif. Or for a busy Italian family, hungry as they come home from work and school, and eager to temporarily sate their appetite with some leftover cheeses and cold meats.
As with most Italian food, simplicity is the key to incredible flavour. Minimise your platter to about 3 – 5 high-quality ingredients and let them speak for themselves.
I love having an artisanal soft cheese like mozzarella with some homemade pickled/cured veg, one type of Italian cold meat (the best you can afford) and plump Italian olives. I can assure you that every mouthful will be totally different. A glass of chilled Moscato or full-bodied Chianti would be a match made in heaven.
Slow roast tomatoes are one of my favourite accompaniments to antipasto. They cut through the creamy sweetness of provolone and mozzarella, and round off olives and cured meats. There is nothing better than the tangy, sweet ooze of a slowly roasted cherry tomato on a piece of soft, creamy mozzarella.
We had planned to have a delicious Saturday night treat in the form of a seafood linguine and knew just the impromptu thing to have 15 minutes before it was ready.
Here goes the easiest recipe you’ll ever see on this blog. You’ll need:
- Small cherry tomatoes.
I have used Piccollini, but feel free to use any tomatoes you have at hand. If you have larger tomatoes, just slice them.
- Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
I have a big bottle I brought back from Santorini last year left still. We’re eking it out as much as we can.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Fresh herbs.
I used a sprig of rosemary, oregano, a bay leaf, and a few fresh sage leaves. Use anything you have to hand.
Method: Put the tomatoes (on the vine if possible) in a small, shallow roasting tray with the olive oil, salt and pepper, herbs tucked underneath, and pop in the oven at !70 degrees (Gas mark 4) for an hour.
That is it.
Serve warm and oozy on a wooden board or platter with your choice of cheese, cured meats, olives, and fresh basil. Feel free to dip some warm focaccia in the tomato juices left in the pan.
The next time you have your friends around, keep it relaxed, pop some tomatoes in the oven for an hour, rip up some mozzarella and cured parma ham, tumble some olives into a bowl – I promise your friends won’t have tried this.