Slow-baked plum tomatoes

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This makes a good starter if you serve it with a few rocket or other salad leaves. Or have it as an antipasti or side dish.

10 medium-sized plum tomatoes
2tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
2tsp chopped thyme leaves
1tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

to serve

3tbsp olive oil
1/2tbsp balsamic vinegar
A few rocket leaves (optional)
8 slices of prosciutto or good-quality ham (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 130C/Gas mark1/2. Halve the tomatoes, cutting through the core. Lay them, cut side up, on a baking tray lined with lightly oiled greaseproof paper. Mix the olive oil, thyme, sea salt, and black pepper, and brush or spoon over the tomatoes. Bake for about 11/2-2 hours until the tomatoes have shrunk to half their size and are lightly coloured and caramelised on top. Remove and cool a little.

To serve, mix the olive oil with the vinegar and season. If using rocket leaves, place a few on to plates or a large serving dish and arrange the tomatoes on top. Lay the prosciutto on the side and spoon the dressing over.

Wine checklist

Pinot nero (north-east Italy)

Valpolicella classico

(Verona - north-east Italy)

Pinotage (South Africa)

Pinot Noir (New Zealand)

The acidity of tomatoes will normally take the edge off any red wine, but this dish has its own edge mollified by the prosciutto. Thus a chilled north Italian pinot nero will suit, as will a valpolicella classico from Verona. But a young, chilled pinotage from the Cape is also good, as are certain New Zealand pinot noirs: Mount Difficulty, Ata Rangi, Cloudy Bay, Jackson Estate, Wither Hills and Villa Maria Reserve, for example. However, in circumstances where the tomatoes in this dish still display some raw acidity the pinotage is much to be preferred to any pinot noir. Names to look for in particular are Clos Malverne, Warwick, Spice Route (which has a particularly funky, gamey edge suited to the dish), and Kanonkop.

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