Sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that frequently elude us. Take, for instance, two of my favorite foods… fresh mozzarella and roasted grape tomatoes. Why has it taken me so long to put those two together? For the life of me, I can’t answer that question, and maybe you’ve been eating this for years, and maybe I’m the only one who is just figuring out how good they are on the same plate. Together. So good.
And in case you’re looking for something easy and ever so delicious for your Meatless Monday, this here platter of goodness might be just the ticket. I can tell you from personal experience that it makes an excellent dinner… no plates, no silverware, just some crusty bread and a bunch of napkins and you’re good to go. Unless, of course, you’d like to add a nice glass of cab, then, yes, you’ll have to wash a couple of glasses.
Now, if you really want to get the most out of your experience here, you really must use a high quality mozzarella cheese. I’ve tried this with several different kinds, and believe me, you must use one that is packed in water… a buffalo mozzarella would be ideal. What you don’t want to use is one that is wrapped in plastic; the flavor and texture just aren’t right for this. I mean it.
And you can use any cherry tomato, really, but those little grape tomatoes seem to just turn to candy when they’re roasted. And on top of that fresh mozzarella with that garlic-y, tomato-y olive oil drizzled over the top, really lovely, good things happen. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this out.
Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten and Food52
1 quart of grape or cherry tomatoes (a mixture of colors and sizes)
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 lb fresh mozzarella (preferably packed in water), thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
A handful of basil leaves, torn
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the sliced garlic. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt.
2. Roast the tomatoes until they begin to caramelize, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Arrange the mozzarella slices on a serving platter. Spoon the tomatoes and their juices over the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter the basil leaves over the top and serve with fresh, crusty bread.