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Roasted Tomatoes

21-Mar-2008
 
 
 

 
 
I know I’ve mentioned this in past years but I’ve been using this trick a lot lately and thought it might be worth talking about again. 
 
I love tomatoes, especially those straight from the garden (or farmers’ market if you don’t have room to grow your own).  Nothing beats the taste of a sun-warmed and ripened tomato!  But tomato season only runs for 3 or 4 months of the year.  The rest of the time we are limited to what we can find in the market.  Over the years "on the vine" tomatoes have become readily available in the average grocery store.  The premise for these tomatoes, in case you weren’t aware, is that an unripe tomato that is left on a vine will continue to draw sustenance from the vine while it ripens giving it a more on-the-plant ripened taste. 
 
This is true and I often do a similar thing in the fall when it starts getting cold at night.  By pulling entire plants from the ground and hanging them upside down in a garage or shed, the remaining tomatoes will often ripen (it depends on how green they were when you pulled the plant) and have a fairly robust taste.  The challenge with the on-the-vine tomatoes found in stores is that many of them are hydroponically grown and even if they ripened completely on the plant they’d never meet the taste of a "real" tomato.  Still they are pretty good and have decent taste, even if it is a little weak. 
 
To enhance the taste of those tomatoes I use a simple trick that intensifies the flavor.  Using a slow roasting oven technique you can evaporate some of the liquid in the tomato leaving behind a more robust flavor.  I like to roast mine just enough to improve the flavor but not dry them out  completely.  This leaves them in a state where they can be used like a fresh tomato but also makes them a great addition to soups, sauces, stews or braises.  You may decide you’d like the flavor even more intensified and choose to dry them a bit more. 
 
This technique is super easy and something you can do while getting ready for work in the morning or are going to be around the house for any span of 45 minutes. 
 
I generally use the little Compari tomatoes.  I find that these tend to have the best flavor in the first place.  Also, since they are small the drying process is fairly quick and once dried they are the right size to use whole or maybe sliced in half.  Italian plum tomatoes are also a good choice. 
 
To dry them you simply cut the tomatoes in half, place on a baking pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Some people also choose to add fresh herbs which adds nice flavor.  I generally don’t do that but only because I’d like the finished product to be as versatile as possible.
 
Place the pan in a preheated 325°F oven and bake for 45 minutes or a little longer for a drier, denser final product.  
 
Once baked let the tomatoes cool on the pan then store in the refrigerator.  They will store for quite some time – I eat them so quickly I don’t really know how long!     
 
 
 
 
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4 Comments
  1. Unknown permalink
    21-Mar-2008 1:51 pm

    Great Pictures

  2. Mosè permalink
    21-Mar-2008 5:05 pm

    yes!!! italian pulm tomatoes are a good choise! hahaha!!
    I can teach you how to cook original italian pasta: spaghetti, lasagne, maccheroni, sicilian seafood pasta, sicilian fish salmon pasta, original naples Pizza and more !!! hehe yes,
    there is only one problem, I\’m not so capable to write in english!
     
    By an italiano =D
     
    I like so much your space!!!
    CIAOOO 
     
    Mosè
     
     
     

  3. Di' permalink
    22-Mar-2008 9:01 am

    HI THERE!GREAT PICS AND A WONDERFUL IDEA.  I LEARNED THIS FROM MY PERSIAN RELATIVES…THEY USE THE OLIVE OIL & LIME JUICE AND ONIONS WITH THIS AND PAIR IT WITH BAKED CHICKENSAME PAN) THE JUICES GO WELL WITH THE BASMATI RICE THAT IS SERVED TO ACCOMPANY THE LIME TOMATOES AND ONIONS….VERY TASTY.  \’ROASTING\’ BRINGS OUT SO MUCH OF THE FLAVOR OF THE TOMATOE.DIANNA

  4. Culinary permalink
    24-Mar-2008 7:05 am

    Mose:  Your English is very good! 
     
    Dianna:  Roasting with the chicken and additional flavorings is a great idea!
     
    ~ B

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