Monday, August 15, 2011

Recipe: Slow roasted tomatoes

Last year I picked up two organic cherry tomato plants at Whole Foods, and they were such prolific producers and the fruits so sweet that I saved the seed and started them indoors earlier this year. When it came time to plant them out, I couldn't just stop at one or two. Now my momentary lapse of reason has caught up with me and I'm picking a quart or more every other day, which is more than even a tomato lover like me can eat.


There are several ways to preserve tomatoes, but cherry tomatoes are so small that canning really isn't an option. Instead, these little guys get slow roasted. Slow roasting brings out their natural sweetness, and they are easy to put by for later use - if you can keep from eating them long enough to store.

Slice and drizzle with oil

Slow roasting is simple: slice the tomatoes in half and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; drizzle good quality olive oil over them and sprinkle with a tiny amount of salt, then pop them into the oven at a low heat (200-225F) for two or three hours. Two hours and the tomatoes are still somewhat plump but very sweet; three hours intensifies the sweetness and makes them slightly chewier. The garlic bulb is in the photo because I usually take the opportunity to roast some garlic at the same time.

So delicious

I know what you're thinking: "She's nuts to run an oven for hours at a time in the middle of August." While the jury is still out on whether or not I'm crazy, I can honestly say that slow roasting doesn't heat up the kitchen like higher temperature baking might, and the results are packed with so much flavor that it's worth having the oven on for a few hours.

They are especially good with cheese and crackers

I can hardly stop eating them once I start - they are as sweet and chewy as candy - but if you are able to save some, pack them into a small container with some olive oil and pop them in the fridge for up to two weeks. They can also be placed in zipper bags and frozen.

Oh yes

Use them anywhere you would fresh tomatoes. I especially like them as a cracker topping with a good quality cheese. I don't normally promote brands on this blog, but I have to say that Trader Joe's English Cheddar ($3.99) is amazing and works particularly well with slow roasted tomatoes.

Yay! Trader Joe's cheddar is vegetarian

I should also take this opportunity to stress that investing in a bottle of good quality olive oil makes all the difference. You really do get what you pay for.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Let me start off by saying I am quite jealous of your tomato collection. I bought a bush at Natorps last year and I thought I was pretty lucky with it but not sure I had quite that many at one picking! Secondly, I never would have thought to buy a bush at WF nor save the seeds. I need to study to be a better gardener. :)

Your method sounds divine. I think I know what I will buy this weekend at our farmer's market and give it a go. Also, I might have to make a trip to either Jungle Jim's or Trader Joe's for some authentic English Cheddar. :)