Slow-roasted tomatoes (Courtesy SmittenKitchen.com)
1 sheet pan
active: 3 hrs
I am sometimes certain that I wait all year for tomato season, you know, the way a more normal person might be excited for the Giants to get back to the field or eagerly anticipate whatever sleek and minimal trinket Apple has coming out this fall. But for me, it’s just tomatoes. I eat them on eggs, in sandwiches, cooked and raw in every possible format from paste to pasta to chili and seriously, don’t even try to bring me a cream cheese-schmeared bagel without a thin slice of tomato on it. Alex did once and let’s just say, it didn’t go over well. Poor Alex.
I love tomatoes so much that I even occasionally take part in the blasphemy that is “sun-dried tomatoes,” most of which are about as dried out in the sun as I am this week–unfortunately not the case for either of us. But lets talk about what sun-dried tomatoes aspired to be before their dreams were co-opted by food packagers and evil-minded chemists: tomatoes roasted slowly at a low temperature.
If you’ve never made slow-roasted tomatoes before, prepare to have your mind blown because they’ve got very little to do with the aforementioned packaged variety in all of the best ways: they’re so flavorful that you might think you think someone snuck into your oven and doused them in both vinegar and salt, even if you did neither. They also have just the right level of moisture, dry on the outside with some juiciness left within–no rehydrating needed here. They can transform even those freakily perfect supermarket grape tomatoes into heaven on a plate, but if you manage to get your hands on the real deal from a greenmarket, well, I hope you’re sitting down when you pop the first one in your mouth.
And what to do with them? Namely, anything. Dorie Greenspan uses hers as a pasta picker-upper, or stores them in the fridge covered in olive oil, laying them over chicken, salmon, tuna or mixed vegetables. Heidi at 101 Cookbooks puts them in salsa. And I put them… in my mouth. Or mix them with white beans or slivers of basil. Or in my mouth. Or in salad. But mostly in my mouth.