Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I've been making tomatoes every which way this summer and fall. I've used tomatoes in fresh sauces, cooked sauces, sliced with basil and olive oil, mixed into recipes and put into many a sandwich. Then when I can't keep up with it all, I oven roast firm plum and cherry tomatoes. They aren't as dry as sun dried tomatoes, but are very similar. Roasted with garlic, fresh thyme, olive oil and sea salt they last for a week in the refrigerator. A pinch of sugar caramelizes them slightly for a subtle sweetness. They can then be used in many of the same ways as fresh tomatoes, but give an extra punch of condensed flavor. Last week when I visited La Tête dans les Olives, the Parisian olive oil store, I was served dried tomatoes with slices of Pecorino cheese. Drizzled with a little olive oil and a grating of pepper, this combination becomes an easy and tasty appetizer. This time I used my Freres Rabito olive oil from La Tête dans les Olives. My latest passion du jour is flavored olive oils, and think basil flavored olive gives the tomatoes an extra dimension of flavor. Whole Foods and specialty food stores carry a range of flavors. I seem to have every flavor of olive oil from Oliviers & Co. and experiment with different ones to dress up these tomatoes. Simple pleasures.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

4 cups plum or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar (to promote caramelizing)
sea salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss halved tomatoes in a bowl with olive oil, thyme, garlic and sugar. Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet.

3. Roast 30 minutes at 325 degrees and then raise the temperature to 375 degrees and roast 10 more minutes. They should caramelize without charring, so adjust time accordingly. To finish, turn off oven and leave in for 10 minutes. Take out of oven, salt to taste and cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste.They may be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 1 week.

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