Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes and Leeks

Jamie Oliver.  ( period) He is such a cool guy!  We have 2 of his cookbooks and often find ourselves overwhelmed with the simplicity of ingredients in recipes that bring this incredible complexity of flavor.  He cooks like we wish we could all the time, from his freshest garden at home, lots of herbs and lots of real food.  This recipe was so simple, but unique, and intriguing- the photos alone are just so pretty… we made served this as a warm tomato salad with french baguette slices for dinner and it is heavenly.  Something about roasted vegetables, of course they are warm, but the flavors all meld and become this rich fresh mixture that explodes flavors in your mouth.  The next day we sliced some of the leftover tomato into chicken paninis and also had some warmed and sliced with soft boiled eggs and toast for breakfast.  Give this one a try and you won’t be disappointed!  Now, we couldn’t find baby leeks, so we used the smallest we could find and used just 6, sliced and rinsed VERY well.  You’ll want to slice them and put them in a big bowl, fill it with cold water and plunge the leeks a few times to loosen up the sand, then let sit for a few minutes before skimming the leeks out with a slotted spoon to a towel to dry.  The sand sinks to the bottom and you will be glad you took the time to rinse them after you see what’s left over!  Also, we used dried bay leaves because we already had them, and they worked just as well.  We fit 8 plum tomatoes into a 8 x 8 glass dish, since we don’t have a large enough dutch oven, if you go our route use less balsamic ( 1/2 cup)
Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Leeks
( adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe)
• 8 plum tomatoes
• 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 1 handful of fresh basil, leaves picked and torn up
• 8 fresh bay leaves
• 6 leeks, trimmed, sliced in 1/2″ rounds and washed
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4oz cheap balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Score the tops of the tomatoes with a cross. Take an 8″ x 8″ dish that the tomatoes will fit snugly into, and sprinkle the garlic and basil all over the bottom of it. Stand the tomatoes next to each other in the pan, on top of the garlic and basil, then push the bay leaves well into the scores in the tomatoes and season well. Lay the leeks on a board and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Using a rolling pin, press down on top of the leeks to really squeeze the seasoning into them. This will also loosen their texture. Weave the leeks in and around the tomatoes. Pour over the balsamic vinegar, drizzle over the olive oil, and bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Before serving, remove the bay leaves.