If you’ve never had slow-roasted tomatoes, you’ve been missing out. It’s one of summer’s greatest pleasures, alongside homemade ice cream, hamburgers on the grill or ice-cold watermelon.
It is, understandably, not for everyone. After all, the idea of waiting up to seven hours to eat something is anathema to a large number of people. That’s why fast food was invented.
That being said, once you’ve tasted one of these beauties, your world changes. That’s when addiction sets in … and you’ll never look at tomatoes the same old way again.
Slow-roasting over low, dry heat for a long period of time caramelizes the sugars in the tomatoes and concentrates their flavor so that each bite transforms into the essence of summer. Now, there are a number of recipes on the Internet that describe how to make slow-roasted tomatoes. I like my method because it’s the simplest. It’s just tomatoes, salt, pepper and olive oil. This takes on additional importance, especially if you’ll be using the tomatoes in other preparations that involve further cooking.
Pre-heat the oven to 250 F. Halve the tomatoes and arrange them, cut side up in a Pyrex baking dish or cookie sheet. Sprinkle each tomato half with a very small pinch of salt and pepper. How much depends on the size of the tomato halves. You can get away with more seasoning with larger sizes. For the tray of tomatoes I roasted on Sunday (see the pic below this post), I used about 1 teaspoon salt and pepper for 1 pound of plum tomatoes. Drizzle each half with a little olive oil. Don’t use extra-virgin olive oil; regular olive oil is fine for this dish.
If you’re feeling extravagant, you can slip in a few peeled garlic cloves here and there, or add a couple of sprigs of parsley or oregano. Personally, I prefer the plain version. Roast the tomatoes at 250 F for six to eight hours. The longer the roasting time, the more intense the flavor will be. How soon you take them out of the oven will depend on how hungry you are. 🙂
When done, remove the pan from heat. Let cool, then use in salads, sauces, omelettes, in sandwiches, with pasta … or eat however you like. They’re absolutely fabulous added to some scrambled eggs.
Baked rainbow trout with slow-roasted tomato “compote”, served with coconut rice
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The “compote” consists of 2 chopped slow-roasted tomatoes, 1 large shallot (chopped), 1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, 2 tablespoons pitted mixed olives, 6 tablespoons dry riesling (or other white wine), salt, black pepper, 3 tablespoons olive oil and chopped parsley. Mix all ingredients together, then spoon atop rainbow trout fillets. Bake at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.
The coconut rice couldn’t be simpler. Bring 2 cups coconut milk to a gentle simmer, then add 1 cup long-grain white rice or jasmine rice, along with a pinch of salt, a generous pinch of turmeric, a pinch of asafoetida, 5 to 6 dried curry leaves, and approx. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley. Stir. Partially cover, then lower heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until rice has absorbed the liquid. Stir in 1 tablespoon ghee. Fluff with a fork, sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro, then serve.
Time: 6 to 8 1/2 hours for the slow-roasted tomatoes, including prep; 30 minutes for both the fish and the coconut rice. Slow-roasted tomatoes can be made a day or two ahead. If you won’t be using them immediately, you can freeze the tomatoes until needed.