Tuesday Technique Day
Last weekend I went to one of our local Farmer’s Markets on a mission: find a few pounds of really good end-of-summer tomatoes. Why? I wanted to oven-roast a big batch, ensuring that during the winter we would have sweet, delicious tomatoes to use in recipes. Why is oven roasting such a wonderful thing to do to tomatoes? Slow, low heat concentrates the natural sugar in the tomatoes resulting in a sweetness that adds so much flavor to any dish. Tomorrow I’ll share some great ways to use them. I selected 3 sizes: medium, small ~ about the size of campari tomatoes ~ and large grape tomatoes.
When I got home, I turned the oven on and washed the tomatoes. This method is easy and a perfect way to use tomatoes when they are at their freshest and most flavorful.
First, slice the tomatoes in half, from stem to bottom. If your tomatoes are large, I suggest using an apple corer to remove the core first. Also, I’m not a big fan of seeds or what we call “tomato jelly”, so I remove that with my thumb over a bowl.
When all your tomatoes have been cored and sliced in half, place them cut side up and liberally salt with kosher salt.
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, cut in half lengthwise
extra virgin olive oil
1. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit 1 hour. (30 minutes for grape or small plum tomatoes) The salt pulls out the natural water which makes the tomatoes roast better.
2. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
3. Turn the tomatoes over so that the water drains out. Drizzle, spray, or toss the tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil. Bake the tomatoes until they are almost dry, yet still slightly soft and plump. Depending on the size of the tomatoes, this process can take 2 hours for grape tomatoes to 3-4 hours for small plum or campari to 4 or 5 hours for large tomatoes. Keep a look out! You don’t want to over-roast. The tomatoes should be soft when roasted. Unfortunately, I’ve had some roast to a crisp. You can throw some unpeeled, large garlic cloves drizzled with oil on during the last hour.
You can quick-freeze oven-roasted tomatoes, then place them in zip-lock bags (they’ll last for several months) or cover in olive oil in a glass jar – they’ll keep for two – three months. I knew that these wouldn’t last long so I put the whole batch in jars.
Because I love labels and I love chalk pens, I had to label my jars.
So if you have time, make a trip down to your local Farmers’ Market and start enjoying one of the best things summer has to offer ~ and make it last into winter. I know that I’ll be going back this coming weekend for more.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for 10 Ways to Use Oven-Roasted Tomatoes.