September 8, 2009
Today is the first day that I can really feel autumn in the air. There are great big clouds racing across the sky, chased by strong wind. And the leaves are falling off the trees, swirling and dancing their way to the ground. It's the kind of day that makes me start thinking about putting things up for winter, about laying away provisions for the time when (it's hard to imagine!) there won't be tomatoes dripping off the vines and such an over-abundance of cucumbers that I almost can't imagine eating another. It's also a day for being cozy and lazy, for cuddling up with that little person who's recently stolen my heart. So no big projects, no canning, nothing time-consuming. Instead, I offer a simple recipe (more of a guideline) for slow-roasted tomatoes. It's the perfect way to use up that glut of tomatoes without slaving away at canning or making pasta sauce. It's a lazy cooks dream, with only a few minutes of hands-on time. And it's the perfect way to make your house cozy and warm so you can cuddle up with your favorite little person and watch the leaves fall.
1) Halve or quarter tomatoes (depending on size, I used halved cocktail tomatoes) and place cut side up on a baking sheet.
2) Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Add herbs or spices if desired. Fresh thyme leaves are nice or follow Molly's suggestion and use ground coriander. This is also the time to throw in a couple of garlic cloves as well.
3) Bake at 250 F until the tomatoes are shriveled a bit and the juices are concentrated. This will take at least 2 hours depending on the size of the tomatoes. We're not making sundried tomatoes here so don't let them go too long or dry out.
The tomatoes will store well in the fridge in a covered jar. They'll probably last at least a week that way although I can't seem to test that theory as they always disappear much faster than that around here. And if you're much better at delaying gratification than I am, I bet you could even freeze them so you can enjoy summer in the dead of winter.
Use these little rays of sunshine on pizzas, sandwiches or salads. Make a pasta salad with slivers of basil, capers and cubes of fresh mozzarella. And slow-roasted tomatoes make a very grown-up substitute for ketchup on hamburgers, so if summer decides to give us another few days, break out your grill and enjoy the changing of the seasons.