My world abounds with tomatoes these days. The best way to deal with the leftovers from the previous week’s events is to roast or dry them in the oven. Tomatoes done this way are a delight. The flavors are so concentrated and they’re as easy to eat as candy.
If you live in Phoenix, like I do, this is a great fall project. There’s a reason they’re called ‘slow roasted’ tomatoes…because they take hours in a low temp oven to do their thing. Low temp or not, those of us who live in the desert avoid adding any more heat in our lives during the summer than we have to. Besides, in the summer its hot enough outside to sun dry tomatoes in our yards.
Patience is not one of my strong suits. I took some smaller grape tomatoes and halved them. I then rinsed them in a colander to de-seed them and them rolled them in two tablespoons of olive oil. I layed them out on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper with the cloves from one head of garlic. Last I sprinkled the whole tray with seasoned salt along with some dried basil and rosemary from my garden. These cooked in the oven at 350° for about an hour while I was merrily busy with other chores in the kitchen. The results, while edible, were more reminiscent of tomato “chips.” As a whole they were over-cooked and some were flat out crispy.
Lesson learned: 350° is too high unless I pay for closer attention during the cook process. Mental note to self, next time set the timer and check tomatoes after 45 minutes.
I took the larger cherry tomatoes, halved them and repeated the whole olive oil/spice sprinkle process. I think the first batch would have been OK if I hadn’t de-seeded them so this time I skipped that step. For this batch I set the oven for 225° and the timer for 3 hours. They’re pretty meaty for cherry tomatoes so I really thought they were going to need another hour but since I overcooked the last batch I proceeded with caution.
These turned out perfectly. I’m adding some fresh basil and pairing the finished product with some homemade ricotta (really crème fraiche) and sliced baguettes for a party tonight. I’ll bet there won’t be any leftovers!
- Pre-heat oven to 225°
- Cut pre-washed cherry or grape tomatoes in half; place in a large bowl.
- Optional: Add peeled cloves of garlic and or thickly sliced onion to the mix.
- Add one or two tablespoons of high quality olive oil and toss to coat.
- Lay the tomatoes face up in a roasting pan. Lining the pan with parchment paper will make clean up easier.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and other dried herbs to taste.
- Roast for three to four hours or until cooked to your liking.
Store tomatoes in a jar in the fridge. Some folks recommend adding olive oil with them. To me that just adds extra calories. These lasted in my fridge for at least a week at which time I had single-handedly eaten them all.
I ate them on crackers, I added them to wraps, I tossed them in with omelets, I threw them in with cooked pasta and I used them in burritos when I ran out of salsa. The possibilities are endless.