There, I said it. Roasted tomatoes are the best. Sweet, juicy and complex, they are surprisingly addictive. The discovery of roasted tomatoes was a culinary epiphany of sorts; it came at my least favorite time of the year, which is marked by the disappearance of peaches and fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ markets. Every year, I anguish over the loss: what will I eat with yogurt for breakfast if I have no peaches? Will I have to buy…(gasp)… grocery store tomatoes? Let’s face it: tomatoes are meant to be eaten in the summer and early fall. Out of season, they are a bland, mealy mess, unless you have a greenhouse in your backyard. I eat fresh tomatoes every chance I get during the summer, and start to hoard them like a squirrel near the end of September. It’s so hard to see the good ones go. Two years ago, in the midst of this heartbreaking time, I was reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, and Molly saved me. I give her almost full credit (I still haven’t figured out the peach issue) for showing me the way, and the way is slow-roasted tomatoes.
The recipe is so easy. You can’t believe that something so simple, with only five ingredients, can be so versatile and satisfying. You can use grocery store tomatoes! and they become flavorful, as if the roasting process is a time machine back to late August. Roasted tomatoes can be used almost anywhere a fresh tomato might be found: they are gorgeous on a pizza, or in a BLT, pasta sauce or casserole. Sometimes I eat them as-is. Some friends of mine had the enviable problem of a surplus of homegrown tomatoes this summer, and I got so excited for them when I thought about how many tomatoes they could roast! I actually was a little jealous.
Hopefully I have made you curious enough to add tomatoes to your grocery list this week and give this recipe a go. All you need is time, and the reward is so worthwhile. Over the next few weeks, I will post some recipes with roasted tomatoes as a main ingredient, and I would love to hear your own ideas of how to use them.
- Roma tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Ground coriander
Slice the tomatoes length-wise in half and place, cut side up, in a baking dish. (I use a 9″ x 13″ dish or a large pie plate that generally fits 8-10 tomatoes.) Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes until each one has been covered but not drenched. Liberally sprinkle with salt (kosher works best) and ground black pepper, and then with ground coriander. Don’t leave out the coriander. I don’t know what it brings, exactly, but it is not the same without. Roast in a very low oven, 225-250 degrees F, for 4-6 hours. The cooking time will vary based on the number and size of tomatoes you’re using. The tomatoes are done when they are darker in color and about 3/4 the size they were when fresh, shriveled slightly around the edges and mostly soft. Eat warm, or place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.