"A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins." - Laurie Colwin
I would like to take a moment to talk about tomatoes. Fresh, ripe, delicious tomatoes. Whether they are from your garden, the grocery store or the farmer's market, now is the perfect time to enjoy that fruit-in-veggie's clothing.
Our overflow of summer squash has finally ended and now we are in the midst of a tomato deluge; a glorious tomato deluge. I mean, there is nothing quite like a fresh tomato from the garden. The cherry and Roma tomatoes are the two we are getting a lot of and my favorite thing to do with them is to roast them at a low temperature for a few hours. Sweet roasted tomatoes straight from the oven don't last long in my house so I tend to make a lot of them and immediately freeze a couple of large bags right away.
There are endless ways to enjoy roasted tomatoes and what better way to enjoy summer in the dead of winter than defrost some of these beauties for dinner? (Aside from a Caribbean vacation, of course). They are great in garden salads, pasta and quiches. You can create a simple salad by mixing them in with fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar and basil. I like to roast my tomatoes with cloves of unpeeled garlic and then serve it as a topping for grilled chicken or pork chops (just unpeel the garlic when cooked and either make a paste with it or chop it into chunks). How about a delicious homemade pizza-use roasted tomatoes in lieu of sauce, add some slices of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves...yum!
I think I'll be doing some more roasting this weekend...
- Cherry, grape or small Roma tomatoes
- Whole gloves of garlic, unpeeled
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil or other herbs of your choice
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
- Halve each tomato and arrange on a baking sheet along with the cloves of garlic.
- Drizzle with olive oil (not too much-just enough to make them shiny.)
- Toss basil leaves, salt and pepper on.
- Bake the tomatoes in the oven for about 2 1/2-3 hours. (The goal is to get tomatoes that are shriveled but still have juice in them-keep an eye on them because the time it takes to achieve this may vary depending on your oven and the size of your tomatoes.)
You can eat them right away, store them in olive oil for the short term or you can freeze them in bags for delicious meals all winter.