Yes, you can roast tomatoes a quicker way – in the oven at a high temperature – but give them a little more time, at a much lower setting, and you’ll be rewarded with these jewels.

A splash of vinegar is used here in the dressing and also added at the end, and it’s this magical touch of acidity that really enhances the flavour of the tomatoes. A long, slow cook makes them taste far sweeter, too, with a moreish soft texture. You won’t need many to make an impact. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to five days.

Serves 4–6

        500g midi plum tomatoes on the vine, cut in half

        2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

        1 tsp sherry vinegar, plus extra to serve

        1 tsp each freshly chopped thyme and rosemary

        Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1      Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark 2.

2      Arrange the tomatoes, cut-side up, in a small baking tin so they’re sitting snugly next to each other.

3      Whisk together the olive oil, sherry vinegar, chopped thyme and rosemary in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the tomatoes, ensuring some of the chopped herbs land on top of each one. Roast in the oven for around 1 hour until they’ve slumped down to half their size.

4      Take out of the oven and drizzle with a little extra sherry vinegar while they’re still warm.

SERVING SUGGESTION

Their juicy texture lends the tomatoes to being squished onto a thick slice of toast, tossed into freshly cooked pasta or tender new potatoes alongside lots of chopped herbs. They also make a dead simple starter if you partner them with a ball of mozzarella or its double-cream cousin, burrata – just remember to take either out of the fridge about half an hour before serving so that the flavour comes through. Serve half a ball of mozzarella or burrata each; be careful when slicing through the burrata as it will ooze everywhere, so you’ll need a spoon to divvy it up. Lift onto a plate and spoon over a generous amount of the roasted tomatoes and top with a few basil or rocket leaves.

NOW TRY THIS…

Here’s a quick pasta supper – a great one for those nights when you’re pushed for time. It’s enough for 4 people. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Once boiling, stir in 400g conchiglie pasta and cook for 10–12 minutes until al dente – it should have a very slight bite to it.

Drain the pasta and tip it back into the pan with a tablespoon of the cooking water. Add a handful of chopped herbs or watercress, 4 chopped anchovies, around 10 chopped stoned olives, 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of the tomatoes. Season to taste, adding more vinegar if you need more acidity, then toss everything together and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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