I used to avoid tomatoes like the plaque all winter long. If I couldn’t have ripe, juicy, red (as in really red) tomatoes, fresh from the garden or farm stand, well, I just didn’t want them at all.
RUN to the store and pick up a BIG bag! I bought close to five pounds for around $3.00. Don’t be worried about making too many of these fabulous tomatoes – they freeze beautifully and you’ll love pulling them out for soups, sauces, salads, pizzas, sandwiches. Actually, there’s a gazillion ways to use these delicious ruby gems – be looking for some wonderful recipes over the next week. Now, I’m not saying I went overboard or anything like that when I saw the tomatoes so cheap but…
P.S. There are all sorts of different versions and recipes for Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. I’ve tried quite a few and have ended up liking this one the best. I actually adapted it from a delicious pasta dish my daughter made for us last summer. Sometimes I vary things a bit by adding sliced lemons, fresh rosemary and/or oregano and if I see red or black grapes on special, I’ve even been known to roast them along with the tomatoes, but….. that’s a whole other story.
Italian Slow Roasted Tomatoes
⅓ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons sea salt (we love Maldon!)
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
15-20 fresh basil leaves, more if you like
1 medium lemon, halved and then each half quartered, lengthwise, optional
2 ½ pounds tomatoes, cored and sliced in half*
1. Preheat oven to 250˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil.
2. Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Add basil, lemon wedges (optional) and tomatoes and stir gently to coat with oil mixture.
3. Turn tomato mixture (and any accumulated juices) out onto prepared sheet pan and spread to a single layer. Place pan in preheated oven.
4. After 1 hour, remove pan from oven and turn all tomatoes cut face down. There will be quite a bit of liquid in the pan at this point. Continue to roast for another 3 or so hours until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and tomatoes are soft, shriveled and have turned a deep red. It may take a bit longer – check by turning one of the tomatoes over, it should be starting to caramelize a bit on the underside.
If the Romas at your market look sort of washed out and are a pale red color, go ahead and purchase them. Let them sit out at room temperature for a few days before roasting. They will ripen more and turn deeper red. Whatever you do, don’t refrigerate tomatoes – it stops the ripening process, breaks down the cell structure, turns them mealy, kills the flavor and makes you bark like a dog…….. well maybe not the last one!