I developed this recipe to use the surplus of cherry tomatoes from my garden. This is a very loose recipe – you can cut the tomatoes in half but I don't bother. You can remove the seeds from the tomatoes and peppers if you like. I leave the cherry tomatoes whole and throw in a few plum tomatoes or peppers if they are ripe because I always cook with economy in mind. I will throw a stray or orphaned vegetable or fruit into something that I am preparing. Waste not Want not. Cooking with that philosophy brings me great satisfaction.
Some recipes for tomatoes call for the addition of sugar to round out the acidity. I use a few teaspoons of tomato paste instead. The tomato paste intensifies the flavour and adds sweetness and texture all at the same time. So if you are making for example, bruschetta with tomatoes that are under ripe- use a few teaspoons to concentrate the flavour.
Consider this recipe as intense tomato essence. Roasting concentrates the flavours. You can use these roasted tomatoes on anything you like-the possibilities are endless.
You can make a small batch as you are roasting something else for dinner perhaps. Or you can prepare a large batch and preserve them in packages to use later. I suggest freezing any leftovers to use in the winter for a taste of sunshine.
Knowing when they are ready is checking on the tomatoes as they roast and stirring them for even cooking. This recipe would also work in a slow cooker.
If you want a drier product you can vary the cooking method by baking the tomatoes at 225 F for 4 hours. I am too impatient for that but the results are delicious.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed, or 2 pounds cherry tomatoes
6 tablespoons fruity olive oil
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons sugar, optional
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers cut in half, optional
Sprigs of fresh herbs: basil, thyme and rosemary
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on sheet pan or in cast-iron skillet. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle garlic, sugar, salt and black pepper over tomatoes. Add jalapeño peppers if you choose.
Roast for 15 minutes, stir mixture then decrease temperature to 350 and continue roasting for another 20 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to caramelize.
Remove from oven and add fresh herbs such as basil, thyme or rosemary. Adjust seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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