This is a really easy and quick dish to throw together, with wonderful Christmas-y colours. A bit of blitzing in the oven, followed by some fun assembly, and that’s it!
I tinkered with the recipe for Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil, My Way, from Nigellissima. I couldn’t find enough fresh basil so I opted for some good quality pesto instead, plus a few other small alterations.
The following amount serves 6 as a starter or side salad of sorts; feel free to adjust the quantities to suit, keeping in mind the 4 : 2 : 1 ratio of tomatoes : mozarella : pesto (by weight).
300 g cherry tomatoes
1-2 tbs vegetable oil
0.5 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste
150 g mozarella (preferably buffalo)
75 g good quality pesto
1 tsp good quality vinegar
small handful of fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Half the tomatoes. Place them cut-side up in the smallest dish you have that will accommodate them all snugly.
- Drizzle over the oil. Sprinkle over the herbs and seasonings.
- Roast for 20-25 min. Leave to cool (for up to 4 hours). DO NOT discard the juices in the dish!
- When ready to serve, drain the mozzarella and tear into smallish pieces. Arrange these on your serving dish(es).
- Dot the tomatoes around the cheese pieces.
- Thin out the pesto with the roasting dish juices and vinegar (plus more oil, if needed) to achieve a dressing consistency. Drizzle this over the cheese and tomatoes.
- Decorate with the fresh basil as desired.
This style of presentation is great for casual eating, a big platter where people help themselves. I like the simple and fresh Italian flavours, and I really like the Christmas-y look. Tomatoes are not out of season at Christmas time for us southern hemisphere residents, where this dish feels appropriate, and should please even the non-salad eaters.