Slow and Easy. It really doesn’t get any slower or easier than this and the reward is greater than the expended effort (so much for physics). Many recipes for slow-roasted tomatoes have the oven temperature cranked up to 400 degrees and sugar added, both combining to create more caramelization. I prefer a lower oven temperature and longer roasting time to coax out the natural sugar in the fruit, developing a depth of tomato flavor unencumbered by any addition of sugar.
These little lovelies can be used on bruschetta, in sandwiches, placed in savory pies and tarts, added to chili, soups, and stews, tossed with pasta, layered in lasagnas, used to create sauces, dips, marinades, and salsas, or nestled within an antipasto.
I’ve used some dense Roma tomatoes from my friends Dan and Rosie’s Swallow Hill Farm. Organic sun-ripened tomatoes, picked just after the mid-morning dew disperses, this is life at it’s most ripe. Do not attempt to use supermarket tomatoes for they will only disappoint. Any type of fully ripened tomato, from cherry size to beefsteak mammoths, will do. Heirloom tomatoes will give off much more liquid than plum tomatoes. Don’t you dare discard this precious juice; strain and add to vinaigrette dressing and I promise there will be a je ne sais quoi to the rest of your day.
- 12 - 24 tomatoes, enough to cover a baking sheet when cut in half (I'm a big help, but tomato size varies greatly), placed snugly edge to edge
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Cut out the tomato stems and any hard, yellow core.
- Cut the tomatoes in half. Plum tomatoes should be cut from stem to bottom. Indeterminate (all of the others) tomatoes should be cut crosswise.
- Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Tomatoes react badly with aluminum, so substitute another type of baking dish if parchment is not at hand.
- Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven (middle rack) and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours. (I did say slow).
What recipe ideas do you have for these summer treats? Let me know in the comments below.