If there is a theme that seems to be running through this blog, I am learning that I am, for the most part, a make-it-ahead-of-time cook. My kitchen and my family room are one big room, so it doesn’t really work for me to be doing big-time cooking too close to the dinner hour. Too messy, too chaotic. I like to sit down before dinner—sip on something to drink—watch the news or talk with my family or guests. When it’s time to eat, I like to be able to finish whatever needs doing quickly—and without too big a mess—so that eating is relaxed and there isn’t a ton of clean up work to do afterward.
Like everyone else, I love casseroles, but you don’t want them every night. Meat or fish on the grill is served often at our house and roasted vegetables are the perfect make-ahead accompaniment.
For this recipe, you need to be home for a couple of hours before you eat, but other than that, it is pretty simple to prepare—you go back and forth “checking on” things, but the preparation and clean up is easy and you can load your beautifully roasted vegetables onto an oven-safe platter, let them stand at room temperature until about 10 minutes before you want to eat and just heat them up while you’re setting the table (if you haven’t already done that…) They look good, they taste good and they’re good for you…enjoy!
Roast Tomato, Green Bean and Eggplant Platter
For the Tomatoes:
2 pounds tomatoes (on the small side—even cherry tomatoes work well)
6 cloves garlic finely minced
Freshly Ground Pepper
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange them, cut side up on a baking sheet. Season them with salt and pepper, sprinkle the minced garlic over and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the tomatoes for about 2 hours until they have released most of their juices and are beginning to caramelize. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving or leave at room temperature if you are making ahead.
For the Green Beans:
1 pound green beans trimmed, washed, rinsed and dried
Freshly Ground Pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the clean, dry green beans on a baking sheet, drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss lightly to coat. Roast for about 10 minutes, stir and roast for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges.
For the Eggplant:
1 Eggplant, sliced into ¼-inch slices
Freshly Ground pepper
Lay the sliced eggplant on paper towels, sprinkle each slice with a little salt, and let stand for 1 hour. After the hour, blot the eggplant of all moisture with paper towels. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive on both sides and sprinkle with pepper. Roast the slices in a 375 degree oven, turning occasionally, until they are brown at the edges, and hold their shape.
To present the dish, arrange the three vegetables on a platter, and sprinkle the tomatoes with crumbled goat cheese.