I’m always on the look out for new side dishes, especially ones that don’t require any last minute preparation and can feed a large number of people without dirtying all the pots and pans in the cupboards or using up all the stove burners. This roasted green bean and tomato dish delivers all of the above along with great flavour. Green beans are such a versatile vegetable and one of the few that can be both slow cooked and quickly blanched. Slow cooking concentrates their flavour and makes them very tender without losing their shape or becoming mushy. The key thing to note in this recipe is that the beans and tomatoes need to be put into a cold oven, unlike most recipes you shouldn’t pre-heat the oven first but only turn it on once the beans are in there. This allows the beans and tomatoes to cook through first and then crisp up. This is half way between a warm salad and a side dish and you can choose to serve it hot straight from the oven or at room temperature. What I normally do is make it a few hours in advance, place it on a serving platter and leave it out at room temperature and then give it a very quick blast in the microwave before serving which just makes it slightly warm.
Ingredients – Serves 6 – recipe can be easily doubled or halved
500g green beans, trimmed
2 punnets cherry or grape tomatoes, I like to leave some whole and cut some in half
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Place the beans and the tomatoes on a shallow rimmed baking sheet (if you’re dish is too deep the vegetables will steam rather than crispy up). Add the oil and vinegar and season well with salt and pepper. Toss the beans and tomatoes making sure they are nicely coated with the oil and vinegar and spread them out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Place pan in a cold oven (see note above) and set temperature to 220C.
After 15 minutes give them a stir and then check them every few minutes until the beans are cooked through and a little crisp and the tomatoes have collapsed. You need to watch them carefully as they can get charred very quickly. Remove the pan from the oven and place the vegetables on a serving platter. Pour any remaining pan juices over the vegetable (sometimes I add a little more oil and balsamic to the hot tray if there isn’t enough left) and serve either straight away or keep un-chilled and serve at room temperature.