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Roasting tomatoes brings out their sweetness

Posted by on December 26, 2013

Often in winter, the quality of tomatoes is not stellar, even when you choose hothouse or organic ones.  I have a recipe that will bring out every ounce of flavor from those tomatoes, whether they are fresh, slightly overripe, or even not quite ripe.  This recipe doesn’t care if the tomatoes are a bit long in the tooth. Roasting tomatoes brings out their sweetness, and is a simple way to enjoy this lycopene-laden fruit. Lycopene has been found (in very preliminary scientific research) to aid in prevention of prostate cancer and to reduce the effect of UV damage to skin.  Tasty, and good for you!

I add roughly chopped garlic to my tomatoes, along with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  You can snip some rosemary and throw it in, as well, if you have some handy.  I use a generous amount of olive oil, too.  Just look at these beauties, from start to finish:

I’ve been known to eat these straight out of the pan, spooned onto a slice of crusty bread.  Use them with pasta, as a chunky sauce, and add your choice of cheese for a vegetarian meal.  I like parmesan or feta, but goat cheese would be yummy as well.  Pair this almost-sauce with meatballs, and it would make a fantastic messy sandwich.

Roasted Tomatoes

1.5lbs fresh tomatoes, cut into uniform sized pieces (if you have cherry tomatoes, just slice in half), large cores removed

olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

3 grinds of pepper (or, season to taste)

1 tsp. chopped rosemary

4-6 cloves garlic, rough chopped

5-6 leaves fresh basil, torn

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Oil bottom and sides of baking dish, and add tomatoes, garlic and rosemary. Drizzle olive oil over tomato mixture, using enough that all are well-oiled.  Stir well (I use my hands), and season with salt and pepper.  Roast until the tomatoes are collapsed and wrinkly, and have released their juice.  I usually stir them once during the cooking time.  Depending on how small you cut your tomatoes, they can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to cook.  I usually check them after an hour, then in 15 minute increments until they are done.  Pull them out of the oven and scatter the basil over them.  Stir well, check seasonings and use more if needed, and serve, or cool and store in the refrigerator.

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