Green beans are in season, the basil plants are going crazy, and we're nearly overrun with tomatoes-- particularly cherry tomatoes right now.
So it's not difficult to deduce what inspired this dish. I combined a couple of other recipes to come up with this one ~ it's one of the treasures of my collection.
If you've grown weary of eating the tomatoes right from the vine at this time of year it is a welcome change to roast or saute them in a little olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper to intensify the sugars in the fruit.
To me they are the star of this this delicious salad or side dish ~
it's worth the bit of effort it takes to cut each in half before roasting.
I use to roast tomatoes (and some vegetables) in a very hot oven, but as I've become more aware of the health risks of that practice I've returned to lower temperatures for slow-roasting.
And even if you don't subscribe to that concept, you may agree with me that it's a waste to destroy the vitamins and flavor of extra virgin olive oil with high heat, so this is how I prepare these slow-roasted cherry tomatoes.
Preheat the oven to 225* (F), or convection oven equivalent. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper, then prepare the tomatoes: Rinse them, remove the stems then cut them in half through the axis, from stem to blossom end. Arrange the cut tomatoes skin-side-down on the parchment line pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper if desired. Then drizzle a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin over all, distributing over tomatoes as evenly as possible.
Place on a center rack of the oven and allow to slowly roast for two to two and and half hours.
I rotate the pan once during the roasting time.
This is what you end up with:
Still moist, but slightly chewy, toothsome little buttons of sweet and slightly salty goodness.
While the tomatoes are roasting I toast the pine nuts (or other nuts) either stove top or in the oven. This recipe adapts well to almost any other favorite nut -- walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, etc.
And I whisk (or shake in a jar) the very slightly sweet rough-mustard vinaigrette --- I adore this particular recipe for mustard vinaigrette. A bonus recipe, it's fabulous on grilled or broiled chicken or fish, too.
You can either blanch or steam the green beans ~ but to retain the bright green color don't over-cook, and immediately plunge the cooked beans into a big bowl of ice water as soon as you remove them from the heat. This stops the cooking, then allow the beans to completely cool in the ice water. Drain well as soon as they have cooled.
The components can be made/prepared ahead, then assembled just prior to serving.
The dish is "okay" cold, but I much prefer , at room temperature. To avoid discoloration and vibrant flavors, serve it at it's optimum peak of freshness, do not add the basil or dressing until the very last moment before serving. I don't toss, but I prefer to pass the dressing separately, so each can add as much or as little as desired.
I love this dish!
Back to edit:
Gigi has a great question, which I meant to address when I first posted ~As to whether any leftover roasted cherry tomatoes can be stored to use later...
Yes, by all means any extra roasted tomatoes (and the oil they were roasted in) can be placed in a clean jar (I prefer glass to plastic) with a tight fitting lid and refrigerated for other uses ~ anywhere you would use sun dried tomatoes. I don't bother submerging them in extra olive oil. Because they are not dehydrated to the point of sun dried tomatoes and to reduce the risk of botulism, I usually use them up within a week or so.
If you would like a printable copy of the recipe, you can find it on my recipe blog HERE.
I'm participating in REAL FOOD WEDNESDAYS, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Cop ~
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And t hank you for stopping by! If you try this recipe I hope you love it.