This recipe is a regular at my table, especially in the Summer. I think it deserves a place on this site even though it seems almost too easy to be worth posting, but the simplest recipes are often the best. I don’t know how many types of tomato you are able to find locally. Most weeks just the round red type are available on our market, with unusual varieties a rarety. In the Summer there are often the small sweet ones, useful for skewering, plus vine tomatoes and sometimes the oval Italian plum type. One week last Autumn, therefore, I was surprised and pleased to see a number of varieties I had not come across before. I knew, though, that if I bought several types of tomatoes I would also need to have a plan for them. No problem: our favourite warm tomato dish, flavoured with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil – perfect! It would be extra pretty, multi-hued rather than the usual plain red. I decided on some medium sized pale yellow tomatoes and some enormous crinkly orange/red ones, plus the ordinary red type I had already bought at an earlier stall. Later on I saw dark tomatoes too, a combination of maroon and olive green: my heart said yes … but my head said that I had bought enough already! A pity as the splash of extra colour would have made the dish particularly attractive.
Although I am sure that there are many similar versions of this Mediterranean style dish in recipe books this recipe is my own. I have not specified amounts – use as many tomatoes as you would like to serve, but be generous as this is moreish. The other ingredients should be according to taste. Since I made (and photographed) this recipe I have discovered the existence of white balsamic vinegar, though have not yet bought a bottle. It would be useful as the tomatoes would not have the usual dark staining associated with ordinary balsamic vinegar. I usually serve this as a warm side dish as part of a main meal or as a warm or cold salad. It also makes a good light lunch spooned onto a slice of crusty toast or a delicious starter, either cold or a warm, served on its own, or on crusty bread drizzled with additional olive oil, or topped with a slice of flash grilled melted goats cheese.
Roasted Mixed Tomatoes
Tomatoes – one variety or mixed varieties and colours if available
Balsamic vinegar, dark or white
Fresh basil leaves, torn – plus a few to garnish
Sugar (a small sprinkle for added sweetness)
Black pepper, freshly ground
Slices of French baguette loaf – optional
Slices of goat’s cheese roll – optional
1. Cut the tomatoes into ¼inch/½cm slices and layer in an ovenproof dish.
2. Sprinkle generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add sugar, torn basil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Put the dish uncovered into a preheated oven at around 170oC/325oF/Gas 3 for about 15 minutes. (The temperature and cooking time can be a little higher or lower as this recipe is often cooked at the same time and heat as another dish for the meal.)
Cook uncovered on medium in the microwave so the tomatoes heat through relatively gently.
4. Whichever method of cooking is used the tomatoes need to be warmed through, retaining their shape, rather than dried up (although they are still delicious if they have shrivelled a little!)
5. Serve drizzled with a little extra olive oil and some more torn green basil, as the original leaves will have darkened and have lost their attractive colour.
6. If adding goats cheese then, before finishing with extra olive oil and basil, lay slices of a goat’s cheese log on the top and gently flash grill to melt and colour. Alternatively toast a slice of French baguette loaf on one side, then turn over and lay a slice or two of goats cheese on the other side. Flash cook cheesy side under the grill. Serve laid on a bed of warm or cold cooked tomatoes.