- July 2015
- Serves 6 as a shared starter
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 2 hours, plus infusing
Gorgeous summer vegetables are the star of this antipasti recipe — serve as a starter at your next dinner party.
Get more inspiration for your al fresco spread with our summer starter recipes.
- Vegetarian recipes
- 36.4g (7.5g saturated)
- 4.2g (3.7g sugars)
- 400g cherry tomatoes
- A few fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Extra-virgin olive oil (about 150ml)
Roasted fennel with chilli oil
- ½ red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthways into 8 wedges
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 large courgettes (see tip)
- 125g buffalo mozzarella, at room temperature
- A few fresh basil sprigs, leaves finely sliced
- Extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
- Finely grated zest and juice ½ lemon
- Focaccia or similar bread to serve
- For the tomatoes, heat the oven to 120°C/100°C fan/gas½. Halve the tomatoes horizontally. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and put on a large baking tray. Roast for 1½ hours or until shrivelled and sweet. Leave to cool, then put in a bowl or jar, add the thyme and bay leaves, then cover with extra-virgin olive oil. Stir gently to combine, then leave for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight (see Make Ahead), at room temperature.
- Make the chilli oil for the fennel by mixing the chilli, salt and 5 tbsp olive oil in a pestle and mortar and crushing slightly. Leave for at least 1 hour to infuse (see Make Ahead).
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. Drizzle the fennel wedges with the remaining oil, season well, then roast for 20-25 minutes until tender. Toast the fennel seeds in a hot, dry pan for 1-2 minutes over a medium heat until fragrant, tossing occasionally, then set aside. To serve, put the tomatoes and warm/room temperature fennel on a large serving platter or board, drizzle the fennel with the chilli oil and scatter over the fennel seeds.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the courgettes into ribbons, rotating them as you peel, then discard the soft seeded core. Put the ribbons in a bowl and tear in the mozzarella. Add the basil, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, season, then toss to coat.
- Arrange on a board and serve with focaccia or other good bread to mop up the juices.
A mix of yellow and green courgettes would look beautiful, if you can find them.
Make the tomatoes up to 4 days in advance and keep covered in the fridge, making sure they’re submerged in oil. Bring to room temperature to serve.
Make the fennel up to 4 hours in advance and keep at room temperature – dress just before serving.
Make the chilli oil up to 2 days before; the heat will get stronger the longer it is left.
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