Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

If you don't come to Portland to visit the vegan mecca that it is, then you must come to consume the tomatoes of a Portland summer. You're crazy if you don't. Certifiably crazy, and that is not an exaggeration. I'll never forget when I first discovered the "early girl" variety at the Portland Farmers Market....I would buy an entire grocery bag full, take them home and put them in pretty bowls to look at, and eat them with sourdough bread and basil and olive oil. Early girls ripen early (really? ha.) and are small, red sweet little numbers that scream TOMATO! Then I learned how to grow my own - and the varieties I love have expanded and my counters some years are over-run with tomatoes of every color. I even have a framed picture of some particularly beautiful tomatoes that we grew. I love summer for tomatoes! Sadly, some summers in Portland just never warm up enough, and twice we have been left with 8 plants heavy with the weight of hard, green tomatoes. That is a sadness I push from my memory - the sun will not disappoint this year, oh no.
But in these dark days of winter what's a gal to do about needing a good tomato? My budget is not of the $4.99 per pound flown in from wherever that have no flavor and are usually mealy. Ugh. No. I am more of the "let's make lemons out of lemonade" kind of person, only in this case, with tomatoes.
I make these little gems!

It's not their fault they were born as normal cherry tomatoes.
Some time in the oven has improved the little guys.

Perfectly roasted in the oven on a February day.

Roasting a vegetable (or in this case, a fruit) will bring out it's natural sugars and flavors. Slow roasting intensifies this for tomatoes. With their high water content slow roasting creates a chewy, sweet treat instead of a blob of boiled tomato.

Slow Roasted Oven Tomatoes
1 package or bunch of cherry tomatoes - a lot!
olive oil spray
kosher or sea salt

Preheat your oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the tomatoes in half and line them up next to one another on the baking sheet. Spray generously with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast in the oven for at least an hour, up to two hours. The time depends on the size of the cherry tomato. You want the tomato to be shriveled up and even can be browning a bit. Just take one out and taste it - you'll know it's done when it's a bit chewy and it's super sweet tomato taste knocks you on the floor.

You can use these anywhere. On top of pizza, tossed in pasta, on toast with tofu ricotta, in a sandwich, in a quesadilla, layered in lasagna, in pesto, in salsa, or as a snack. Only 5 or 6 more months 'til tomato season hits PDX!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE roasted tomatoes! I am about to make these, Right Now! But is it okay if i don't have the parchment paper? we never ever remember to buy that stuff... i'm gonna do it anyway..