Perfect as a summery starter or a light lunch for 4-6 people
The Anchovies are completely optional if you want to keep the dish vegetarian
You won't believe the intensity of flavour that a little roasting can make to a simple tomato salad. This dish is divine....serve at room temperature for the full impact. Use the very best vine ripened/heirloom tomatoes you can buy....or even better home-grown and picked that day. And .....don't forget ....you'll ned plenty of fresh crusty bread to mop up those fabulous juices.
You will need a ovenproof dish, choose a pretty one for serving too.
12 large ripe but firm tomatoes
1 small tin of anchovies... plus it's oil (can be omitted ....use an extra tbsp of olive oil, and season with sea salt if leaving them out)
2 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 large cloves of garlic chopped
a small bunch of fresh basil
around 20 or so Kalamata or black olives
Seasoning.....freshly ground black pepper.....if using the anchovies you may not need any salt whatsoever
First skin the tomatoes.....cut a cross in the base of each one.....pop into boiling water for 1 minute or so..... remove ....straight into icy water and the skins will be easily removed
Cut each tomato in half.
Place a little of the olive oil in the base of your oven dish and spread it around
Place the tomatoes on top cut side facing up
Sprinkle over the chopped garlic
place a little anchovy fillet (if using) on each tomato
sprinkle a little chopped basil over the dish ( reserve some leaves for the finishing of the dish)
Season with black pepper
Pour over the reserved anchovy oil, the balsamic vinegar and the remaining olive oil
Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven 200c/400f/gas 6
Roast for around 50 minutes
Remove and cool
Tuck the olives in and around the dish
Finish with fresh whole basil leaves just before serving
Serve with plenty of crusty bread ......you'll be fighting over the sauce it makes .....we always do .