Two really easy recipes for things you want to have in the fridge

Also known as Roast Garlic and Slow Roasted tomatoes.  These are my personal saviours when it comes to vegetarian cooking in summer – I’ve been making batches of both these things every week and storing them in the fridge for use in any recipe that needs an instant flavour hit.  The roasted garlic is good in basically anything – mayonnaise, mashed cannelini beans, béchamel sauce, casseroles, pasta, or just spread on bread.  The roasted tomatoes are brilliant for pasta or salads (especially panzanella), particularly when the tomatoes at the shops are a bit lacklustre.  They are great for adding zing to a tomato soup or ratatouille, and are lovely on grilled anything (chicken, fish, tomatoes, and, I suspect, seitan), and again, are great on bread. 

Your Shopping List for both these items

3 bulbs of garlic (think big!)
3 punnets of cherry tomatoes, any kind
olive oil
salt
pepper
 

Now what will you do with them?

For the garlic, heat the oven to 200°C.  Do not peel the garlic!  Keeping the bulb whole, slice a lid off the top of the bulb, so that all the cloves have their tops exposed (oo-er!).  You may have to make this slice crooked to cover everything, and that’s fine.

Put the garlic cut side up onto a sheet of aluminium foil, and drizzle with olive oil.  Be a bit generous, but don’t leave them sitting in a pool of oil, either.

garlicroast

Bring up the corners and edges of the foil and scrunch them together like a purse to seal in the garlic.

Pop the bundle into the oven to roast for around 30-45 minutes, or until the garlic is soft (you can gently squeeze the package – with gloves on! – to get an idea of whether the garlic is ready).

Remove from the oven and open the foil. Rest the garlic for ten minutes so that you don’t burn your fingers, then hold the bulbs over a small bowl one by one and squeeze them from the base as you would with a tube of toothpaste (unless you are one of those terrible people who squeezes from the middle of the tube, in which case I can have no truck with you), so that the nicely mushy cloves pop and squeeze out and fall into the bowl.

garlicroasted

Store in the fridge until you want them – I find this keeps for a week without problems; for longer storage, you should probably cover it with olive oil, but mine never gets the chance to be stored for long.

To prepare the tomatoes, halve them and put them into a baking tin that can just hold them in one layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil, then toss with your hands to coat.  You don’t need enormous amounts of oil – maybe 1-2 tablespoons?  I never measure this.  You could add some dried oregano or tarragon at this point, but I rarely do.

tomtoroast

Put the tomatoes in an oven set to 150°C and cook for about an hour, or until they are rather collapsed and very intensely flavoured.

roasttom

Again, these store happily in the fridge for a week.

tomato

What to do with these lovely things..

Both these goodies make a nice picnic lunch or dinner in hot weather with good bread, some baked ricotta, and a salad or two.  You could make a lovely sandwich (open or closed) with hummus or herby tahini, rocket or baby spinach, and the slow roasted tomatoes.  Grilled haloumi would be a nice touch, but by no means a necessary one.  Roasted garlic would be nice on a pizza base instead of tomato passata, or could make the most amazing aglio e olio spaghetti.  Actually, spaghetti with roast garlic, slow roasted tomatoes and maybe some parsley or fat hen would be a lovely meal too.  Toss through some nuts or chickpeas for protein, if you like.

Really, your imagination is your only limit here!  You could even try roast garlic fudge… if you dare…

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One year ago: Steak or Mushrooms on Peach Summer Salad with Mayonnaise and Garlic Toasts
Two years ago: Sultana Pizza (Pizza Serafina)
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