A couple of years ago my best friend Carmen and I were strolling around Borough Market in London and came across a stall selling the most wonderful tubs of deli treasures…baba ganoush, caponata, roasted aubergines etc. I bought most of what was on offer but one of the most delicious ones I bought was tomatoes roasted in balsamic vinegar and garlic. So simple yet so delicious. If you have good ingredients, sometimes it’s best not to tamper with them too much.
Carmen and I devoured the whole pot before we got home. In fact, we walked down to the river, sat down and took out a freshly baked loaf of crusty bread that we’d bought, and ate in wondrous delight. It was a lovely afternoon…sitting on the South Bank of the Thames in the sun with your best friend, crusty bread and the most amazing slow roasted tomatoes.
When we finished the tub we vowed to make them ourselves. It was so easy. Take a couple of punnets of cherry tomatoes, slice them in half…
Place them on a baking tray, add a few whole cloves of garlic with the skin on and some sliced, add some torn basil and some oregano if you wish then season with Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Then drizzle over some virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
You can tailor it to the way you like it. I personally love garlic so I tend to add quite a lot. I also add a spoonful of sugar.
Place in an oven at 160°c and keep an eye on it. You can move the tomatoes around as they cook and soften. I usually keep them in the oven for about an hour or so. When they come out, the tomatoes will be beautifully soft and sizzling, the garlic will be soft and sweet. The smell is amazing. If you press down on the garlic cloves the beautiful soft garlic will ooze out of its paper shell.
You can eat this hot or cold, on bread or with a spoon. It’s a perfect accompaniment to almost everything. It’s great at picnics, bbq’s, its lovely with salmon, chicken…anything really. Just make sure you make a lot because it disappears fast! It also shrinks a lot. You can put in 2 punnets but that will fill just a small bowl which is fine for 2 of you but if you’re taking it to a friends BBQ, it will be gone in an instant.