Friday, March 1, 2013
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Roasting tomatoes is one of the sweetest treats of summer, concentrating the flavor, preserving them for later and, oh, the heady aroma when you add garlic to the pan. Pure indulgence!
Garlic, smashed and sliced
Thyme, oregano or other herbs
You'll find many recipes for oven-roasting tomatoes. Personally, I like to keep it simple.
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Add oil to the bottom of a non-reactive baking dish along with smashed, sliced garlic and herbs. A couple of turns around the pan is more than sufficient.
2. Halve the tomatoes and place them cut-side down. A little oil over the top if you like. It's not necessary. Roast until done.
3. Slip off the skins after roasting. You get about two cups from two pounds of Roma tomatoes.
4. When cool enough to handle, transfer individually to a flat plate or pan covered in wax paper or parchment, then stash in the freezer for a few hours.
5. When frozen solid, transfer all halves to a freezer bag. This lets you take out only as many as you need for any one dish. Freezing keeps them at least six months. (I just used my last few tomatoes roasted last summer a couple months ago. Barring freezer burn, they last.)
If you're short of time (or don't want your oven on all day,) roast at a higher temperature - 275 or 300 degrees. Watch the pan. I roasted the first batch at 325 degrees. They were sufficiently reduced in two hours to eat, but to preserve, I wanted to reduce them further. So I reset the oven to a lower temperature, roasting for another hour or so.
I roasted the second batch at 200 degrees for eight hours.
There is a marked difference in the intensity of the flavor. Lower, slower roasting results in a flavor that's so concentrated, it's almost plummy.
It's an art, not a science.
You can also preserve them in oil and store in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
The biggest challenge? Resisting the temptation to eat them immediately.
Well, of course, who can?
So I slathered fresh-from-the-oven roasted tomatoes on French bread brushed with good olive oil and toasted in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. I topped the crostini with warm tomato, basil, black salt and feta. Divine with a glass of wine.
Next I whipped up a batch of tomato hummus served with black sesame rice crackers and vegetable crudite'.
Obviously, they make an awesome pasta sauce.
Summertime. Tomato time. Sublime.