From the Garden - The Slow Roasted Tomato Edition
Have you ever tried slow roasting tomatoes?
Since I am currently obsessed with them (actually have been for a while), I’ll see if I can convince you to be obsessed with them too. If you make them once, you’ll do it again and again. They are sweet yet savory and so versatile. They can upgrade any meal to the gourmet(esque) and I promise you will never run out of options on how to use them.
Tomatoes were one of the 1st things I started to grow before I realized that I would be a proper gardener (if you can even call me that). They would grow in large pots in my yard and intertwine with the wooden fence of my dog's kennel. These tomatoes were so good but they must have eventually found out that I had moved on to greener pastures because I haven't had as much success with large varieties since. The amazing thing about tomatoes is that they grow practically all year round in Bermuda.
Now that I am older and wiser (hah!), my favorite tomatoes to grow are large cherry tomatoes. If they are too small, they are a pain to pick and manage the bush. Regular size tomatoes risk being eaten by the pests before they are quite ready, but large cherries hit the sweet spot for a new gardener. You want to have a couple of plants so that you get enough fruit with each harvest.
One of my favorite things to do with them is slow roast (or dehydrate) them. Dehydrating might be quicker but I think slow roasting is more flavorful (could also be my imagination). They keep the texture of fresh tomatoes but with less liquid and the flavors become sweeter and more concentrated. I always have to resist the urge to keep eating them after I taste test the 1st one.
If you think you wouldn't know what to do with a bunch of slow roasted tomatoes, I’ll help you out.
Tomato and White Bean Salad
Mix a tin of Great Northern Beans with a chopped garlic clove, chopped celery (optional) half a chopped onion and a cup of slow roasted tomatoes. Season with The Herb Turkey and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and turmeric white (or regular) balsamic. Try to make in advance so the flavors have time to meld.
Pan Fried Fish with Tomato Spinach Sauté
Season a couple fish filets with your favorite UMAMI blend (The Hot Mexican and The Middle Eastern come to mind) and pan fry in olive oil. Remove fish from pan and quickly wilt a bunch of spinach (or preferred green) with the tomatoes. Serve the fish on top.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Burrata & Basil
This is like a Caprese salad on steroids! No recipe here. Just put it all on a plate and enjoy. Serve with the most extravagant extra virgin olive oil and balsamic that you own. Be sure to grind some pepper over it and top with basil.
Decadent Tomato Sauce
The key is not to turn this into a ‘real’ sauce. Sauté a chopped onion until it softens and add garlic until fragrant. Add a tiny bit of red pepper flakes. Add the tomato last and only cook until heated through. I prefer not to cook them too much so that they retain the characteristics of the slow roasted tomato. This is a preference but there really is no wrong way. Add a little olive oil and mix into spaghetti. Or leave as is and make crostinis or bruschetta (gluten free of course).
Tomato Basil and Onion salad
Slow roasted tomatoes work well in this recipe because if tomatoes are the star of the show, you want to be sure they are flavorful. Since slow roasting improves flavor this is a great recipe for bunches of tomatoes that aren’t naturally sweet. Just mix the tomato and Vidalia onion with your favorite vinaigrette and top with basil.
Or Store in Olive oil and use as a topping for anything and everything!
Here’s how to make:
Slice cherry tomatoes in half, leaving some of the smaller ones whole. If you are using larger tomatoes, cut into slices.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add tomatoes cut side up and drizzle with olive oil and season with The Herb Turkey (you can toss in a bowl if you prefer). Cook at 225° for approximately 3 hours. Occasionally I start them at 300° for the 1st hour, if I want them a little drier.
Remove from oven and let cool. Use right away or cover with olive oil and store in the fridge.
When picking out tomatoes see if they smell good. If so, they will likely have more of a tomatoey flavor. Also, if they are not quite ripe, leave in the window sill until they ripen or you are ready to use.
See! Told ya! And these are only a few of the uses for slow roasted tomatoes but they can make the difference between the ordinary and extraordinary.
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