To Stock Your Pantry with Summer Sun for Wintertime—
No matter whether you get them from your garden, local produce stand or farmers' market, this is the perfect moment to cash in on the seasonal overflow of vine-ripened tomatoes. Many of us regularly invest in putting up jars of canned tomatoes and/or sauce, but slow roasting these sun-drenched fruits is so hassle-free, you can even do it at the end of a long day. So while your chicken is roasting for dinner, you could quickly prep the tomatoes, and then when it's done, just turn the oven down to low, stick in the tomatoes and leave them there to take care of themselves while you enjoy the rest of your evening. Then merely turn off the oven before you toddle off to bed, and wake up to a done deal, all set for stashing in the freezer. What could be easier? And more rewarding.
"Slow-Roasted Tomatoes", continued:
Slow-roasted tomaotes are softer and juicier than sun-dried ones, and they can be eaten on their own even barely thawed or else used as a rich flavor addition in many cooked dishes. Just like for sauce, you'll want to select the meatier, Roma or Italian plum style tomatoes for slow roasting (or drying). Some of my favorite varieties include the classic San Marzano, vigorous Viva Italia Roma, and romantic Juliet. But the choice is up to you. Here's how to preserve their essence, so you can make the most of it all year round.
Casual Recipe for Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
dried herbs [basil, oregano or herbes de Provence]
- Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and place in a wide bowl.
- Add drops of balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of herbs.
- Quickly fold to evenly coat.
- Place cut side up in a single layer on parchment-lined sheet pan(s).
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast on the middle rack in a 200-250 degree F oven for 4-6 hours, or until the juices are syrupy and the tomatoes are caramelizing but not blackened or leathery.
- Cool pan on a rack (or in a turned off oven) to firm tomatoes before removing.
and Play with:
Storing: Of course, it's hard to resist eating them all up right off the pan. But you can keep them in the fridge for at least a week or in the freezer for many months. I pack them in freezer bags with the air pressed out for a tight seal. Tomatoes not left in the turned off oven to cool overnight won't be as firm, which you might prefer. It's best to layer these softer ones between parchment to later more easily remove just a portion without it sticking to the rest. Oven cooled tomatoes are dry enough to last several days without refrigeration, so why not take them on a picnic, camping or backpacking trip?
Uses: On an appetizer plate with cheeses, salumi, prosciutto, raw or roasted vegetables, pickles, olives, and/or nuts to be served with croutes, crostini, crackers or fresh bread. In sandwiches, on pizzas, in salads or stuffings. Plumped back up while simmering in sauces, stews or braises; in pasta, rice or whole grain dishes. Go crazy.
Bon Appetit! Kay