I’m working to get the last of our summer produce “put up” before it’s too late. Kind of a bummer to have to interrupt my taking photos of pretty leaves and pinning things in Pinterest to can more tomatoes, but tomatoes won’t wait!
I try to also find as many ways as I can for us to enjoy the veggies we have while they are still fresh. Canned tomatoes are very welcome in January, but right now I want to enjoy them straight off the vine, and all the ones I can cram into meals now, are ones I don’t have to can or freeze. Can you tell that I am getting a little tired of canning?
And, while I’m avoiding canning any more tomatoes today, we have one heck of a lot of potatoes to get used up too. It was a great summer for potatoes apparently because we ended up with SO many. I think Larry might have gotten carried away with planting them last spring, but I’m not going to complain about it. It’s nice to have extras to share, and they will keep quite awhile, despite the fact that we don’t have a root cellar.
Tomatoes and potatoes might not be a flavor pairing that is at the top of everyone’s list, but maybe it ought to be. And especially if you are going to give everything a quick and easy roast in a hot oven, and then just kind of casually layer everything on a plate to serve it, making sure to drizzle plenty of reduced balsamic vinegar over the crispy roasted potatoes and rich almost jammy tomatoes.
Margherita – not margarita!
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 8 ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese
- 6 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
- 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
- 2 large red skin potatoes
- 2 medium fresh ripe tomatoes
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 6 to 10 large basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425º.
- Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saute pan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring every minute or so, for several minutes, until it become thickened and syrupy. Remove to a small glass dish and set aside.
- Put 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pie plate, and use a microplane to shred the peeled garlic clove - or mince the garlic very finely and add to oil, stirring to combine.
- Remove the mozzarella from the package and blot off any excess moisture, then cut into thin slices, and place them in the pie plate with the oil and garlic, turning to coat all sides. Let sit at room temperature to marinate until you need it later on in the recipe.
- Slice the potatoes into ¼ inch thick slices.
- Slice the tomatoes into ½ inch thick slices and lay in a single layer n paper towels to blot up some of their liquid.
- Divide the remaining olive oil between two large heavy sheet pans, spread it out to coat the entire pan.
- Place the potato slices on one pan, in a single layer, turning to coat both sides with the oil, and sprinkle the top side lightly with salt and pepper.
- Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the other pan - you aren't going to turn them yet and the salt & pepper will wait for bit as well.
- Place both pans in the oven for about 20 minutes, turn over all of the potato and tomato slices, using a wide turner of some kind to keep the slices intact.
- Sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with the salt and pepper, and return both pans to the oven for another 10 minutes. Take both pans out of the oven when the potatoes are cooked through - crispy and browned on the outside, but soft inside.
- Tear the basil leaves roughly, and set aside.
- On a serving plate, layer the potatoes, tomatoes and marinated cheese slices [you can also do individual servings as in the photo above], alternating the ingredients as you go, and scattering the torn basil here and there. I had a few slices of the cheese left over when I got done.
- Drizzle the reduced balsamic vinegar over the layered ingredients. The heat from the veggies will melt the cheese just a little.
- Serve warm, refrigerate leftovers.
A pretty wonderful side dish, but this could easily be the whole meal too, like on Meatless Monday!
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