There are few things as lovely as walking around a local whole food market getting inspiration for the feast you’re going to prepare later. This past week brought a great find in the shape of gorgeous red and yellow varieties of ‘rosa’ cherry tomatoes on the vine. They are packed with so much flavour that even just a light roast produces a star ingredient.
Hungry from the trip to the market, I settled on the quickest way to serve a delicious, fresh dish for lunch. It being January, my family is focusing on eating lighter, more nutritious meals so I settled on this old favourite: roast tomato and vegetable ‘salad’.
Ingredients for four people
1 punnet of assorted cherry tomatoes, preferable on the vine
6 Courgettes/zucchini, small
6 Pattypan squashes, small
200g/7 oz baby spinach
100g/ 3.5 oz Danish-style feta cheese
1 t Red wine vinegar
Sea salt, black pepper to grind
Ciabatta bread, small.
Nudo lemon olive oil to drizzle
Preheat your over to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 5. Cover a baking tray with some tin foil and place the tomatoes on the vine in the first half of the tray. Alternatively place the vines on a cooling rack on the baking tray. Now an important trick: to ensure that the tomatoes roast and wrinkle beautifully without bursting and losing most of its juice, prick each little tomato twice with a needle. Drizzle over the red wine vinegar and lightly grind over some sea salt and black pepper. No olive oil is necessary, especially if you’re using a cooling rack. Roast for 20 minutes.
Roughly chop up the zucchini and pattypans, trimming off the tops. Take out the tray with tomatoes and arrange the vegetables on the other half of the baking tray. Drizzle lightly with some olive oil and sprinkle with a grind of sea salt and black pepper. Roast for another 20 minutes and then take out to cool slightly. Whilst roasting, tear the ciabatta bread into small 1-inch pieces. In a pan, add a little olive oil and pieces of bread and toast over medium heat. Watch this closely as you want the bread to toast on the outside whilst remaining warm and soft on the inside.
In a large platter or bowl, cover the base with baby spinach leaves. Whilst still warm, remove the tomatoes from the vine and arrange tomatoes and vegetables and the pieces of ciabatta on the bed of spinach. Cut the feta into cubes and add to the salad. Drizzle with olive oil and add another grind of salt of pepper to taste. Serve.