July 5, 2022
Warm confit cherry tomatoes with fresh cheeselets (Ġbejniet)
This amazingly simple dish is a lovely starter to serve both in summer and winter. Bringing together the sweet creaminess of the cheeselets and the sharp saltiness of the confit tomatoes while also mixing hot and cold in one might be a bit of an unusual combination but one that surely works.
Prep. time: 5 minutes + assembly
Cooking time: 1 hour
32 cherry tomatoes
70 millilitres olive oil
40 ml red wine vinegar
2 sprigs thyme
12 basil leaves
1-piece lemon peel
Salt and pepper
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp cane sugar
1 clove garlic, smashed
4 fresh cow’s milk cheeselets
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C fan. In a bowl combine the oil, red wine vinegar, thyme leaves, 8 basil leaves, lemon peel, chili flakes, garlic and sugar with a good grind of black pepper and salt and mix well. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat well with the oil mixture.
2. Tip the tomatoes with all the oil mix into an oven proof dish large enough to hold the tomatoes in one layer. Place in the oven and cook uncovered for one hour.
3. Remove the tomatoes form the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. While the tomatoes are resting drain the cheeselets from their water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
4. To serve, spoon some of the hot oil onto 4 deep serving plates, place the a cheeslet into the center of each plate, spoon the tomatoes on the side and finish with a final drizzle of hot oil and a fresh basil leave on top of each cheeselets serve immediately.
The confit tomatoes can be made ahead and will keep refrigerated for at least 4 days. To reheat place in the oven or if you want to be quicker in a small sauce pan.
Drain the cheeselets well and once ready serve at once as otherwise it is likely that they will weep into the oil.
You can serve this dish with lightly toasted sourdough bread to mop up all the lovely juices.