Before I go on I want to make a quick note about the cocktail I posted on Saturday. It looks and tastes very light, refreshing and un-alcoholic. Do not let that fool you. If you drink copious amounts of it on a Saturday afternoon/evening, you will wake up on Sunday feeling like utter crap! Don’t ask me how I know this 😳 just trust me you will!
But I can also assure you that there is nothing like a Sunday afternoon spent playing in the sea to help you feel more normal and even accept a glass of wine with your dinner. You might find you only accept one glass though, as the trauma of the hangover could still be very raw and present in your mind!
But that is all in the past, so lets move on to this light, summery and delicious starter or lunch. Roasted tomatoes with garlic focaccia. A delightfully simple dish that sings with perfection. When roasted tomatoes become sweeter and more tomatoey. And we know that everything is better with garlic, well almost everything!
I made the bread from scratch but I have included a quick and easy cheat recipe so that you can perk up a shop bought focaccia.
As a starter or lunch this is perfect, if you added a grilled chicken breast you could easily serve this for dinner.
I used a mixed box of tomatoes, but any small tomato will work. The mozzarella is important here. You want the milky softness of a buffalo mozzarella or at the very least a good quality cows milk mozzarella ball that has been stored in the liquid. This is not the place for the solid yellow rubbery balls that pretend to be mozzarella!
To make the bread I used my stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, but as I have mentioned before I am using it for everything at the moment. Before my Christmas present I always made this by hand and it took hardly any extra time. Well maybe a little more, but nothing worth putting you off making it.
I love making focaccia, there is something very satisfying about the oily dough. Pushing and pulling it to fit the tray and then creating dimples all over it. This is a wonderful recipe that is easy to change just by changing the flavour of the oil. I love rosemary oil and also chilli oil, drizzled all over the bread. But included below is also a quick and easy method for making a shop bought focaccia just that little bit special.
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For the dough
- 500g plain flour
- 7g instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 350ml warm water
- 1 tsp oil
For the top of the bread
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- In a mixer fitted with a dough hook or large bowl mix together the flour, yeast and salt with the warm water.
- Mix until you have a soft dough.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes, or leave in the mixer on low for 5 minutes.
- Pour the teaspoon of oil into a bowl and transfer the dough to it. Turn the dough over until it is all lightly coated.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
- Whilst the dough is rising, finely chop the garlic and add to a pan with the olive oil.
- Heat the oil gently until the garlic starts to gently sizzle.
- Turn off the heat and leave it to infuse.
- Line a high walled baking tray (37 x 27cm) with cooking paper.
- Push the dough into the tray. Use your fingers your spread the dough out until it fills the tray.
- Once the dough is pushed out, use your fingers to create dimples in the surface of the dough.
- Pour half of the olive oil mixture over the dough and sprinkle with salt.
- Leave to rise for a further 30 minutes whilst your oven gets up to temperature,.
- Pre-heat the oven to 240°C/ 220°C fan forced/Gas mark 8.
- Bake for 15 minutes until golden-brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and immediately drizzle over the remaining oil.
If you want to perk up your shop bough focaccia, make the garlic oil up as directed. Heat the bread in the oven (180°C/ 160°C fan forced/Gas mark 4) for 5-10 minutes until warmed through. Remove the bread from the oven and drizzle over half of the oil. Serve the rest of the oil with the bread.
For the tomatoes
- 750g cherry/mini roma/small variety tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 300g mozzarella
- ½ bunch basil
- Pre-heat your oven to 160°C/140°C fan forced/Gas mark 3.
- If you have just cooked the bread reduce the temperature of your oven and then leave the door open for 5 minutes to allow it to cool down.
- Slice your tomatoes in half lengthways.
- Lay the tomatoes out in a single layer in a large, lined roasting dish.
- Drizzle over the olive oil.
- Season generously with salt and black pepper and then roast for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cook slightly.
- Serve garnished with shredded basil and some torn pieces of mozzarella.