Now that the calendar has turned to September, the days are numbered for fresh garden produce. It seems like you wait for months only to have everything ripen within weeks. We soon have overwhelming mountains of freshness that we don't want to waste, but how much can one really eat in one sitting??
Tomatoes are especially prone to this end of season excess, especially if you planted a determinate variety. (Determinate varieties tend to ripen all around the same time while indeterminate varieties have a longer growing period and ripen throughout the season.)
Many years ago, September 2004 to be exact, I found a technique in Fine Cooking Magazine for slow-roasting tomatoes and my life has been much more delicious ever since!! Although the original recipe used Beefsteak tomatoes, I have always used a plum variety, which cooks faster and holds together better.
The process is simple and straight-forward:
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then cover with a sheet of parchment.
- Coat parchment generously with olive or avocado oil.
- Cut tomatoes in half through the stem for plum, through the equator for beefsteak and lay them cut side up on the prepared pan, packing tightly.
- Sprinkle a pinch each of salt and sugar on EACH half followed with a drizzle of good quality aged balsamic vinegar. (I use the traditional red variety from Tasty Olive in Highland.)
- Thinly slice several garlic cloves and place one slice garlic on each tomato half. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves (or substitute another hearty herb such as rosemary or oregano).
- Finally generously drizzle additional oil over and around the tomato halves.
- Place in 325 degF oven and roast until tomatoes are concentrated, dark reddish brown and quite collapsed, about 2 hours (for plum), or more depending on ripeness and water content of tomatoes.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. Store in airtight containers or zip-top bags, refrigerated up to a week or frozen for several months. Be sure to reserve the tomato oil for another use (great for dipping bread or mixing into a vinaigrette).
I love to add these to pan-charred vegetables, use on pizza or place on a crostini smeared with softened goat cheese! They are also a great addition to an antipasto platter, added to a BLT or used in an omelet or frittata!! Plus since they shrink down so much you will be able to use A LOT of tomatoes!!
We are told often that raw vegetables are best, but for tomatoes, cooking helps to break down the plant cell walls which allows our bodies to better absorb the powerful antioxidant lycopene.
So, another reason A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE BEGINS IN THE KITCHEN!! What are you waiting for? Go get roasting!!
Your Kitchen BFF,