Oven Roast Tomato Salad with Asparagus, Thyme, Olives and Watercress
This recipe involves a few clever tricks; cooking your tomatoes in the pre-heating oven means they cook more slowly so get time to get sweet before you add the asparagus. Plus, pricking your tomatoes with a knife means they slowly deflate rather than burst in the oven.
- 500g baby tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- A few sprigs of thyme
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 500g British asparagus, tough ends discarded
- 4 tbsp pitted black olives,
- 160g watercress
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Mozzarella, to serve
Place the tomatoes in a large baking tray, making sure there’s plenty of space for the asparagus later.
Prick each one with the tip of your knife. Use the side of the knife to gently flatten the garlic, then throw into the tray with the herbs and three tablespoons of oil. Season lightly and toss everything with your hands.
Place in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Leave in the oven until your oven reaches temperature (you want them in there for at least 15–20 minutes).
Meanwhile, toss the asparagus in the remaining tablespoon of oil and put to one side.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven, gently press them down with a potato masher or big spoon to release some of their juices. Sit the asparagus on top of the tomatoes and scatter around the olives. Return to the hot oven for another 12–15 minutes until the asparagus is just coloured and tender.
Meanwhile, lightly dress the watercress with the extra-virgin olive oil, a small squeeze of lemon and some seasoning. Toss and spread out on a platter.
Remove the tomatoes and asparagus, and spoon everything over the leaves.
Drizzle over any pan juices (this should dress the salad a bit more) and serve immediately with mozzarella and fresh bread.