On the hottest day of the year, when it's 100+ degrees in the shade of the mimosa and the briami is in the oven, my house smells like heaven - garlic, onion, tomato and basil heaven. The smell is divine, but the best part is (naturally) eating the roasty, toasty tomatoes and vegetables, Parmesan bits and herbs. The tomatoes roast and concentrate and mingle with the oil to create a kind of sauce for the other vegetables.
This dish has many fans and I think it’s because of the combination of potatoes and fresh tomatoes, taken interplanetary with melted cheese and herbs. I use basil, but you could also employ oregano and thyme, and other tomato-friendly herbs from the garden. I'm a fan of lovage, when I can find it, which some describe as having a celery kind of taste.
The recipe is adapted from my friend Evelyn who lives in Athens, Greece, and publishes her recipes at Recipezaar. She uses Greek cheeses like kefalograviera or myzithra, but recommends Parmesan as a substitute.
medium tomatoes, diced into 1-inch pieces
zucchini, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
medium onion, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
head garlic, cloves smashed
Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks
extra virgin olive oil
Herbs such as basil, thyme, oregano and lovage, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 425º. Line an aluminum half-sheet pan with foil and spread out vegetables and chunks of cheese. Combine olive oil and water and herbs and then pour over all. Season with salt and pepper and toss until thoroughly coated. Place in oven and roast for up to an hour, stirring every so often, just to monitor that all is cooking evenly.