Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Remember in summer when tomatoes were everywhere you turned at the farmer's market, heaped on tables, farmer's essentially giving them away for free because there were so many of them? This is the time to buy tomatoes.

But as many of us who buy local and organic produce know, tomatoes go bad quickly. An enzyme in them naturally starts breaking down the cell walls (causing them to softened and ooze) because natural selection taught them that this would help disperse their seeds quicker, increasing the livelihood of the species.

Solution: Oven roast those bad boys! Slow roasting tomatoes dehydrates them, concentrating their flavor and preserves them (think sun-dried tomatoes). This way, we can enjoy the summer sweetness of local tomatoes well into winter! And at the cheap price of a vegetable at the peak of their season.


Attempt #1: I forgot they were in the oven and
ended up baking them for like... 20 hours. Oops!

Attempt #2: Perfection!

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Two methods: Low-and-Slow and Fast-and-Hot. The first dehydrates the tomatoes retaining and intensifying their flavor (this is the method I used), while the second retains more moisture and adds a crispy-charred flavor.

Wash tomatoes and cut them in half.
Place halves, cut side up, onto a cookie sheet.
Preheat oven to 150-175F.
Slow cook for 4, 6, 9 hours, to your desired degree of doneness.
You'll know they're ready when they've withered, seem plump, and have a wee bit of juice left.
Preheat oven to 400-450F
Place tomatoes in oven and they'll finish in less than an hour!
Pay attention towards the end because smaller pieces/edges can burn...

Tossing the tomato halves with oil, salt and other seasonings (oregano, thyme, tarragon...) before baking transforms them into tasty snacks and great additions to pastas and other dishes!

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