This year the tomatoes came on late. I had two plants, one heirloom yellow cherry tomato and the other, sweet 100’s. I planted them in leftover molasses barrels for the cows Just shoot a few holes in the bottom and fill ’em with a mix of ranch sandy loam and horse manure. Out here on the ranch they went crazy the whole month of September. Most of them never made it into the house. Nothing like just picked, vine ripened tomatoes warmed by the sun.
The tomatoes in town (that would be Albuquerque) were a bit later because it’s usually about 7 to 10 degrees warmer there. You know how it is with a garden, once things come in, you have more than you know what to do with. Most of these beautiful little gems were given to my mom by a neighbor. The really small ones are mine, that is the few that made it into the house. Aren’t they pretty?
As much as I like fresh tomatoes, I love roasted ones even more. Intense sweet tomato flavor and almost buttery in texture. They make an amazing salad side dish with just a simple vinaigrette. Or, roast them with summer squash and bell peppers. On pizza with a pesto sauce, bruschetta. The list goes on.
In order to perpetuate a taste of summer, I decided to freeze this bunch. I slow roasted them based on the recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini. Now if you’re thinking I have no neighbor with tomatoes to spare, this works beautifully with cherry tomatoes that you buy at the grocery store all year round. Roasting increases the flavor and sweetness like you can’t believe. As winter sets in and the quality of the tomatoes wanes, boost the flavor with this technique. Freeze them and then use them all through the winter and spring.
First rinse and dry your tomatoes. Slice them in half. This is really important. If you roast them whole some of them will burst resulting in little tomato seed shrapnel all over the oven. Run your thumb through the middle of them to get rid of the majority of the seeds and juice. Toss the seeded tomatoes in a bit of olive oil. Spread them evenly on a sheet pan cut side up, and season with salt, pepper and dried basil or thyme.
Now roast them in a 200° F (100° C) oven. If you have convection, use it. Cook them for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You are looking for wilted edges with a bit of caramelization. Talk about something that melts in your mouth!
Use these as appetizers, in tossed lettuce salad, on a sandwich. Mix with fresh mozzarella cheese and a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Or, freeze them to use later with pasta, on pizza, bruschetta or a winter salad. Oooh, more on that one later.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Slow roasting Cherry, heirloom or small Roma tomatoes intensifies their flavor and sweetness. Even store bought tomatoes will be delicious.
- 1 carton Cherry or Small fresh tomatoes
- 1 drizzle Olive Oil
- scattering of dried basil, thyme, or rosemary
- salt and pepper
Rinse and dry tomatoes
Slice tomatoes in half. Run your thumb through the middle of each tomato half to remove the majority of seeds and water.
Toss them in a bit of olive oil and then place tomatoes cut side up on a sheet pan.
Season with herbs, salt and pepper
Roast in low oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until edges are wilted and there is a bit of caramelization. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To freeze, let tomatoes cool. Spread them in one layer on a sheet pan or plate and place in freezer for about 1 hour. After the hour move them to a zip lock bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing.