Just about this time every summer, Morningside neighbor and retired school teacher Judi Holley runs out of ideas for the overwhelming bounty of her prolific tomato patch.
“I always plant more than I need. I just can’t help it,” Holley said.
Fed up with caprese salads, gazpacho, salsa fresco and America’s second favorite sandwich the BLT*, Judi sent me an e-mail inquiring about some tomato alternatives. The easiest way I know to capture that peak of summer tomato flavor is slow roasting. Here’s what you’ll need and how to do it:
2 pounds tomatoes
5 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 250⁰. Slice large tomatoes into ½ inch thick segments. Cut smaller tomatoes in half. Place tomatoes cut side down on a large baking sheet with sides. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stem and toss on the tomatoes along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Give it a gentle stir, and then pop it in the oven for 3-4 hours. When it’s done, the tomatoes will be nice and brown and your house will smell like a pizzeria. Allow the tomato mélange to cool, then fish out the garlic cloves and squeeze out the soft, sweet goodness.
You now have a beautiful concoction of intense tomato flavor – a basic building block for some truly amazing dishes. I like to puree the whole batch, add chicken broth, a bit of cream, and a few fresh basil leaves for a lovely homemade tomato soup. You could also use the roasted tomatoes to perk up a bowl of left over rice or, freeze small bags of your bounty to brighten the flavor of a winter-time stew. If you’d like complete recipes and more ideas for using your roasted tomatoes, just shoot me an email.
*According to recent anecdotal and totally unscientific evidence, the number one sandwich is the PB&J. And yes, I do make some of this stuff up.