Thursday, September 4, 2014

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

The arrival of tomatoes in farmer's markets begins a season as vivid as their colors, flavors and varieties. This may be a time where the tomato is pristinely showcased on restaurant menus and in your own creations. Keep in mind that August will come bringing the tomatoes' big push where the fruit is plump, juicy and abundant meaning less expensive per pound. This is the perfect time for utilizing the tomato for more rustic recipes like sauces, soups, canning and roasting.

Oven roasting tomatoes is one of the simplest and unique ways to create a super flavorful, versatile element for your kitchen. In this process you are performing a miraculous culinary trifecta with minimal effort - infusing aromatics, condensing the juices of the tomato and caramelizing. The end result is simply "candy" and not for lack of a better word.

How this recipe gets even better is the multitude of ways in which you can use and enjoy these flavorful powerhouses: as is, right off the pan hot or cold, passed through a food mill or blended to make soups or sauces, garnish a salad, serve warm atop steak, chicken or fish, pressed into sandwiches for a burst of flavor.......just to make a few suggestions. Best thing to do is give it a try and find out for yourself. It's worth it.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Before we begin: This is such a fun and rustic method that getting out your measuring spoons and following a strict recipe is not really required. In fact this is one of those recipes you can loosely follow changing elements of to discover different results. Simply coat tomatoes with a drizzle of oil, chopped garlic, torn herbs of choice and salt and pepper to taste. Roast until edges are caramelized.

I have put together a basic recipe below should you want a starting point to begin your own discoveries. You can interchange cherry and grape tomatoes for the slicing, which I used. If you do use the smaller varieties of tomatoes simply do not cut in half and toss them whole in a large bowl with your oil mixture. Place on unlined or parchment lined (avoid foil) baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes or until tomatoes blister, pop and edges begin to caramelize.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


2 pounds slicing tomatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1to 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large sprigs of herbs of your choice, stripped from stem and torn or roughly chopped. I like to use 1 sprig of basil and 1 sprig of marjoram but thyme, sage, oregano or any other herbs work great.
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste.

Wash tomatoes, core and cut in half horizontally. Mix olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Dipping your fingers into the oil mixture, gently rub the cut side of each tomato and then place the tomato cut side up on a baking sheet. Try not to overcrowd the tomatoes allowing some space for the hot air in the oven to cook and caramelize the tomatoes.

While I took these pictures I was roasting 8 lbs. of tomatoes (4X recipe)
and I purposely overcrowded my pan with tomatoes to make
the image more appealing and to get your juices flowing.
You DO want a single layer of tomatoes with some space in between .

Place tomatoes in the oven and cook for 1 hour or until the edges begin to caramelize then remove from the oven.

Hot out of the oven and ready to use.

Although your tomatoes are now ready to use you may want to reserve them for use at a later time. If so simply allow the tomatoes to cool on the baking sheet until they are room temperature them store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator until you are ready to use.

*Note that these are easily heated in a microwave without any ill effect on the taste or texture of the tomatoes.

Here I served the tomatoes warmed with a roasted head of
cauliflower and herbed black lentils.
 Try them....

served whole warm or cold to as a side to any dish.

Chopped for omelettes, pasta, salad, bruschetta.

Pureed to make a sauce or soup.

Here are the roasted tomatoes served at room
temperature with a simple green salad for a light
dinner accompaniment.

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