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SLOW ROASTED TOMATOES

Are you finding that you have far more homegrown tomatoes than you know what to do with? Or simply want to stash away summer’s finest flavors to enjoy during the winter months?

Move Over, Sun-Dried Tomatoes! This a far, far more flavorful substitute.

My favorite recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes is Bella’s. There is only one word for this – fabulous! I made it exactly as written (although I always double the garlic). Let tomatoes roast for the full 8 hours. Definitely worth the wait, adding a wonderful punch of flavor to almost anything you add them to. Not only does slow-roasting concentrate and caramelize the intense flavor, it also gives it a meatier, more robust texture. They keep in the refrigerator for a week or longer if you can manage not to eat them all first.

SLOW-ROASTED TOMATOES

Ingredients:

  1. 8-24 small to medium-sized plum tomatoes (I used 2.5″ diameter, dry-farmed early girl tomatoes), halved

  2. 1 clove garlic, crushed

  3. 2 tbsp olive oil

  4. 1 tsp salt

  5. 1 tsp sugar

  6. 1 tbsp fresh minced rosemary

  7. fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F, arrange tomatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet face side up, leaving enough room between each tomato for heat to circulate evenly.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil & crushed garlic. Brush the tops of each tomato with the olive oil garlic mixture. Sprinkle the tops of the tomatoes with salt, sugar and finish off with the minced rosemary.

  3. Place tomatoes in the oven and roast for 6-8 hours. The exact amount of time will vary based on the size of your tomatoes. You are looking for the tomatoes to be slightly dry to the touch but not excessively juicy in the center.

  4. Once tomatoes are done roasting you can place them in a jar and store in the refrigerator, where they should last at least a week (if you don’t eat them all within a day or two

How to use the roasted tomatoes beyond Bella’s superb sandwich? Here are over a dozen delicious ways to use those slow-roasted tomatoes:

  1. Create a lighter Chicken Parmesan by topping grilled chicken with roasted tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and baking just until the cheese melts.

  2. Make the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich by adding roasted tomatoes along with your favorite cheese.

  3. Consider a BLT with roasted tomatoes instead of raw.

  4. Toss in any salad to make it extra flavorful.

  5. Prepare crostini with brie (or pesto, or ricotta, or tapenade) and slow-roasted tomatoes.

  6. Add the roasted tomatoes to a quiche along with other vegetables.

  7. Serve on top of polenta for an elegant side or comforting lunch.

  8. Eat these as a snack or a side dish or put them through a food mill for an incredibly flavorful sauce.

  9. Serve on crusty bread with a little olive oil as a side dish.

  10. Toss with white beans, fresh rosemary/sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  11. Run them (with the garlic) through your food mill (or food processor), then add cream (or lower fat alternatives) to make the most delicious tomato soup you’ve ever had. Adding fresh basil to the roasting makes it even better.

  12. Use in place of raw tomatoes in homemade salsa for a richer flavor.

  13. Mix with capers and serve on top of roasted fish, such as cod or halibut.

  14. Add to a turkey breast/black olive tapenade sandwich.

  15. Enjoy in the morning/a common addition to European breakfasts.

  16. Top on toasted baguettes with goat cheese.

  17. Elevate homemade macaroni and cheese with this addition.

  18. Stash some in the freezer to add an unanticipated/delightful twist to your Thanksgiving meal.

  19. Make a bed for grilled steak by overlapping roasted tomato halves. Top with arugula.

  20. Fill omelets, frittatas, and crepes with finely chopped roasted tomatoes and bold cheeses.

  21. Mix up a quick pasta sauce of roasted tomatoes chopped and mixed with their juices. Or make a richly flavored puttanesca sauce by adding capers, olives, and anchovies to the roasted tomato base.

  22. For an easy hors d’oeuvre, top warmed goat cheese with chopped roasted tomatoes, a few pine nuts, and a drizzle of pesto. Serve with crackers.

  23. Make a simple crostini by topping a small piece of grilled bread with a roasted tomato half and a little slivered basil. Or make a bruschetta topping by chopping the tomatoes and folding in the basil.

NOTE: When it comes to proper fresh tomato storage, conventional kitchen wisdom (and Alton Brown) state that tomatoes are best stored at room temperature—not in the refrigerator. Supposedly, refrigerated tomatoes develop a mealy texture and lose their flavor if they are exposed to cooler temperatures over time.

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