by Dominic Franks from DomInTheKitchen.com @DomInTheKitchen
One of my favorite things to do in the summer is eat outside, be that on the beach, in a park, your back garden or even a balcony. However, the weather is so hit and miss here in the UK that we must take every opportunity that we can to eat Al Fresco. I love bringing the taste of the Mediterranean to the party and this sharing platter is perfect for any gathering. A warning though… it’s one of the messiest things to make and eat, but truth be told, the messy bit is the fun bit and I think it also makes it look so incredible. It's such a phenomenal thing to serve at a party, BBQ, or picnic - everyone dives in and gets messy with it!
This Roast Tomato, Garlic and Mozzarella Sharing Platter is sprinkled with fresh basil, so I’d recommend growing your own in the brilliant the Burwell Herb Keeper.
Kitchen tools that could be useful:
Prep: 15 mins
Cooking time: 40mins
For the roast tomatoes and garlic:
- 3 baskets of tomatoes – use different sizes and colors if possible
- 1 large garlic bulb
- Extra virgin olive oil (approx. 4 tablespoons)
- Balsamic vinegar (approx. 4 tablespoons)
- Salt and pepper (approx. 1 teaspoon each)
- Dried oregano (1 teaspoon)
- Fresh basil (a generous handful)
For the rest of the platter:
- 1 long baguette or 4 ciabattas
- Fresh mozzarella - I used 3 large balls for this platter
- Fresh tomatoes
- Fresh basil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Start with the tomatoes and garlic:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)
- Place the tomatoes into a roasting tin. Break the garlic bulb open and scatter the cloves (un-peeled) around the tomatoes.
- Season the dish with salt, pepper and dried oregano
- Drizzle the whole thing generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then pop it into the oven for roughly 30 mins. You want the garlic to become soft and caramelized. After 30 mins, turn the heat off the oven but leave the tray in there to cool down.
- Onto the bread:
- Cut the bread into large bite-size pieces and lay them out on a chopping board. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides.
- Place a griddle pan onto a high heat and pan fry the bread on both sides until crispy.
- Once griddled, lay the bread out onto the chopping in a haphazard pattern.
- Finally, it’s time to assemble the platter:
- Remove the cool roasting tin from the oven and squeeze the soft garlic out of their skins onto the griddle bread. Spread it in slightly with the back of a spoon.
- Lay the roasted tomatoes on top of the garlic and squish them down slightly with the back of a spoon.
- Scatter freshly cut tomatoes over the whole board.
- Tear the mozzarella over the top, then season well with salt and pepper and freshly torn basil.
- Drizzle the whole thing generously with extra virgin olive oil.
Tip: Remember this is supposed to look messy, so feel free to be as creative as you like. One nice touch is to carry the board to the table and drizzle the olive oil all over as a final flourish. I guarantee there will be ‘ooooh’s’ and ‘aaahh’s’ all round!