With the plethora of tiny tomatoes available at the market right now, it’s the perfect time for a batch of these slow-roasted beauties. I found a rainbow of locally grown, organic baby heirlooms at a fantastic price, but traditional cherry or grape tomatoes work just as well. The key to this recipe is the low, slow cooking, which coaxes every bit of sweetness and flavor out of the fruit.
What makes this recipe easy-peasy is that the tomatoes are placed in a preheated oven which is then promptly turned off, so that they are left to roast slowly overnight as the heat of the oven dissipates. This fix-it-and-forget-it roasting method is the brainchild of Nigella Lawson, one of my favorite cookbook authors, who devoted an entire cookbook to easy-peasy recipes: Nigella Express: 130 Recipe for Good Food, Fast.
The question is not what you can do with a pint of these, but really what you can’t. They lend instant credibility to any green salad and make a lovely partner for pasta. Add a handful of freshly chopped basil, and they become a quick bruschetta topping. I love them on pizza with no more than goat cheese and a glug of olive oil. They’re also delicious stirred into tuna or chicken salad for a Mediterranean feel. I’d love to hear how you use yours. :)
Easy-Peasy Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
makes one pint
1) Preheat your oven to 475F while you wash and halve one pint of tomatoes.
2) Place the tomatoes in a ceramic or glass oven-safe dish and toss with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil; 1/2 teaspoon each coarse salt, pepper, and granulated sugar; 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder; and 1 teaspoon dried thyme.
3) Place the tomatoes in the preheated oven and turn off the heat. Leave for at least six hours, preferably overnight. Finished tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar for up to two weeks. (Don’t forget to spoon the seasoned oil and cooking juices into the jar with them — yum!)
A last note: more than once, I have forgotten I put a batch of these in the oven the night before. Usually I make the discovery when I preheat the oven for another recipe and find the lovely scent of caramelizing tomatoes in the air. However, I once rediscovered them after preheating the oven to broil. The tomatoes were charcoal, my roasting dish was never the same, and now I put a post-it note on the oven to remind me I have them in there. (I am sure none of you would ever be so forgetful, but I thought I’d share anyway. ;)