In case you are wondering why I have been posting frequently about tomatoes, it’s because this is the time of the year when I have eaten all the fresh tomatoes I can handle and it’s time to cook down and preserve the remaining fruit for use over the winter. Tonight the focus was on oven roasted tomatoes.
These are a nice treat and versatile ingredient to keep on hand. Use as a topping for bruschetta, along with capers and Parmigiano-Reggiano, or add to a broth to add some complexity. You might be surprised to taste the effect of adding these to a pan sauce or vinaigrette.
This is more about a technique than a recipe. The objective is twofold, cook out the liquid to get the pure and intense tomato flavor, and the second goal is to establish some charring for maximum flavor.
The process is pretty straightforward. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start by lining a half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper. Clean and halve plum tomatoes to line the half-sheet; if using full size tomatoes, core the stem and slice roughly 1/4″ thick to line the baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt.
At this point you could go straight to the oven but I prefer to drizzle with balsamic vinegar for extra punch, and sprinkle with fresh thyme and parsley. I could go either way on the parsley.
Bake for 3 hours, or until the liquid in the baking pan has evaporated and the tomatoes are dark and rich in color. Use a spatula to remove the tomatoes from the baking pan and store them in a container for use within 3 weeks, store in the freezer, or preserve them by canning. I prepared 4 pans of tomatoes, for a yield of 4 quarts.