A Simple Garnish: Roasted Tomatoes
June 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
During the last two weeks of Operation Tomato Eat-Down, I’ve had my better moments. After overdosing on raw tomatoes, I nearly hit a dead end. Time to pull out the canning manual, I groaned. It’s only June and I’m already sick of them! But, a thought occurred to me: I love roasted vegetables (and roasted fruits, too – especially stone fruits). There’s something about that long, steamy rest in the oven that seems to extract the intrinsic flavor of whatever went in, and makes the taste and texture more complex. Beets, broccoli leaves, potatoes, parsnips – roasting, in my book, makes them all the more savory. Why I waited so long shows a supreme lapse in judgment. After glancing at a tomato bowl overflowing with over a dozen tomatoes on the verge of over-ripeness, I gave it a shot.
The verdict? Guys, we’re talking Tomato Revelation. Roasted tomatoes, I’m delighted to say, are so good that I not only polished off all of those tomatoes solo, on top of my lunch (and for a second course), but I made them again the next day, and the day after that, and I’ll be making them tomorrow, with an eye toward the next day.
The following “recipe” really isn’t much of a recipe: it combines a few essential flavors – good balsamic vinegar and garlic, primarily – and then lets the oven do the work. I chose to do a “fast roast.” From start to finish, my tomatoes were ready to eat in just shy of a half hour. Slow-roasted tomatoes are another deal (and a dream). They bake for a long time (we’re talkin’ 8 hours or so) at a low oven heat, hovering around 200 degrees. Slow-roasted tomatoes have incredible flavor and texture and are all-around exceptional. But here’s a recipe for a short-bake that yields excellent results and a lower electricity bill.
fresh tomatoes of any size
2 garlic cloves, minced
basil, for garnish
*If following the SCD-diet, be sure to use balsamic vinegar with no added sugar that has aged 18 years.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, chop tomatoes (large cherry or bigger) in half and scoop out the seeds. You can leave small cherries whole and place them all in a pan, cut-side up. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Chop several cloves of garlic in a fine dice and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cooking time is 20-35 minutes, depending on the size of the tomatoes. The small tomatoes will look shriveled and blackened around the edges. Don’t be alarmed if the oven gets steamy; just tip your hat to the balsamic vinegar and let it keep baking. Serve warm or at room temperature on top of salads, incorporated into pastas, as a killer pizza topping or plain, garnished with thin slices of fresh basil.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, SCD-safe