Home Cooking 21

Roasted Tomatoes

Deenso | May 2, 200511:25 AM

Several years ago, Mark Bittman's column in the NYTimes included a recipe for roasted tomatoes, with garlic, thyme, olive oil and salt. I stuck it away for future reference. Yesterday I fished the recipe out of my files and roasted 3 dozen plum tomatoes, some of which will be used in a frittata, along with sauteed fingerling potatoes, onions, Parmesan and parsley, that I'm going to serve as part of a brunch for 12 on Saturday. (The recipe indicates that the roasted tomatoes can be refrigerated for up to a week in their juices.)

I gotta tell you, these things are great and I can't wait until next week to use them! Since I made so much and I needed to fill out my brunch menu, I thought I might be able to use them in a pasta salad, too. I took a couple of tomato pieces and mushed them up a little in a bowl, added a little evoo, some salt and pepper and some dried basil (didn't have any fresh on hand), then tossed in some cooled boiled bowtie pasta. It was fabulous. It definitely goes on the brunch menu and, with a little planning, will include torn-up fresh basil and shredded fresh mozzarella and chives.

The plum tomatoes are incredibly easy to prepare, although the prep is a little time-consuming. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Core 24 tomatoes at the stem end and then slice them in half, lengthwise. It's an option (which I took) to squeeze/scoop out the seeds and pulp - that's what took so long. Pour about 1/4 cup of evoo in the bottom of a non-stick baking sheet with sides that can accommodate all the tomato halves without crowding them. (I didn't have any non-stick baking sheets, so I used lined mine with that new "quick release" foil - that worked fine.) Anyway, put the tomatoes cut-side down on the sheet and distribute maybe 8 cloves of garlic (you don't have to peel them) and a few sprigs of fresh thyme among them. (Again, I couldn't find any at my local market, so I used dried thyme - it was good, but I'm sure fresh would be much better.) Drizzle another 1/4 cup of evoo over the tomatoes, sprinkle with a little salt, and roast them in the oven for 15 minutes. Then turn the sheet around so they'll roast evenly, and let them go for another 15 minutes. They'll end up looking sort of shriveled up and the skins will be a little blackened. Take them out and let them cool for a little while, then slip off the tomato skins (easy!) and the garlic skins. Store the tomatoes & garlic in a covered container, WITH the cooking liquids, for up to a week.

Let me know what else you would do with these! I think I'm going to roast tomatoes every couple of weeks for the rest of my life!

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