Another one from the archives…
Slow roasting tomatoes is a good way to get a bit more flavor out of tomatoes that are not as tasty as they should be (aka, all tomatoes in the UK which taste entirely of plastic for some reason). This is a really good way to use tomatoes in the winter if you want the tomato flavor but can’t get any that are ripe (and why should you if it is winter!). You can use them in lots of different ways after they are slow-roasted. I’ve added them to fresh pasta with a bit of mushrooms, zucchini, lemon and garlic for a simple not fussy week night dinner. I also use them for our regular mezze nights where we have lots of little dishes for dinner instead of one big one.
Here’s how I make them:
- I put the oven on 275-350, depending on how hot your oven gets. You don’t want it to be too hot or they will fast roast, which gives them a different flavor. Slow is the way to go with these. If in doubt, err on the side of a lower temperature.
- Chop up some tomatoes and cut them into pieces that are all about the same size and preferably no larger than an inch or two (so – for cherry tomatoes this means cutting them in half, for Romas this is probably cutting them in eights).
- Dump the tomatoes into a bowl and toss in some dried and fresh herbs. You can use whatever you have and like, but a good combination is fresh lemon thyme (yummy and bright), dried fennel seeds, dried basil, dried oregano and a few chili flakes.
- Add a splash of olive oil to get everything coated and toss a few times. You don’t want it drowning in oil; the purpose of the oil is to keep all the herbs and spices stuck onto the tomatoes.
- Lay the tomatoes into a glass/pyrex/ceramic baking dish that is large enough for the tomatoes to be in one layer (you can use a metal pan, but if you do you should wipe it with some olive oil first). After you’ve put the tomatoes in the pan pour the remaining oil/herbs from my bowl on top.
- Add a few cloves of garlic (still in their skins) to the tomatoes. They will infuse the tomatoes with a subtle garlic flavor without the sharp bite if you had chopped the garlic up.
- Roasted for about 2.5-3 hours.
That’s it. Easy, but so tasty. They are even better if you have the time to roast for a longer period at a slower temp (i.e., 150 for 9 hours) but I generally don’t have that much time in my life.