I HIT BACK
I have been told I tend to exaggerate. This may be the case but I still think it’s fair to say that tomato season is the best produce season. EVER. Sweet as the fruit it really is, but perfect in nearly every savory dish, tomatoes are versatile, universally loved, and yet woefully terrible out of season. Perhaps it’s because I worked for a tomato farm for 3 years, but mealy tomatoes have no place in my life.
So, when tomato season hits, I hit hard back. Most of the time I just eat them drizzled with olive oil and a little salt, but they are also delicious baked into a biscuit-crusted pie, chopped up and on some San Francisco sourdough toast, tossed with hot pasta, or mixed with peaches for my favorite take on a caprese salad.
One other way I appreciate this late summer bounty is by always having a jar of olive oil slow roasted tomatoes in my fridge. I throw these in the oven, sometimes nearly forget about then, and then pluck their shriveled selves off the cookie sheet and into my mouth. These tomatoes have a sweeter and more concentrated flavor than their raw counterparts and keep for up to a week and a half in the fridge. Slow roasted tomatoes are much simpler to preserve than canning, though canning is totally worth it. Nothing is better on a cold January night than making soup with peak of the season tomatoes you canned last fall.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
From Deb Perelman, smittenkitchen.com
Cherry, grape, Roma (San Marzano) or Dry Farmed Early girl tomatoes
Whole gloves of garlic, unpeeled
Garden herbs you have on hand that don’t mind some heat
Preheat your oven to 225°F.
Halve each tomato and place on a parchment lined cookies sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs, scatter cloves of garlic (as many/few as your like) and lightly salt and pepper. You can always sprinkle more on after they have cooked!
Bake the tomatoes in the oven for about three hours, checking sooner if you are using cherry tomatoes. You want the tomatoes to be shriveled and dry, but with a little juice left inside–this could take more or less time depending on the size of your tomatoes.
Either use them right away or let them cool and cover them with extra virgin olive oil. Keep in the fridge and add to, well, most everything.