Late last summer, we took a tip from our CSA farm‘s newsletter and converted some of our surplus tomatoes into roasted tomatoes, which we froze and later used in a spaghetti sauce. This year, when I’m not pregnant and feeling weird about food, I am even more excited about delicious roasted tomatoes, and some experimentation has shown us that they’re even easier to make than we’d thought.
Roasted tomatoes are very flavorful, kind of sweet. If you season the oil in which you roast them, they can serve as pasta sauce all by themselves. They’re also delicious in omelets. Roasting reduces the volume of tomatoes so that you can freeze them in less space than diced raw tomatoes–and freezing doesn’t really change their texture and flavor. Roasted tomatoes also last longer in the refrigerator than fresh ones.
Even over-ripe or slightly under-ripe tomatoes roast well. As long as they’re not moldy and don’t smell terrible, go ahead and use them, even if they’re past the point when you would eat them raw. You can even use the good parts of a big tomato that’s gone partly bad.
Our farm advises roasting the tomatoes at a relatively low temperature, like 200F, for an hour or more. Apparently this eventually will give them the texture and flavor of sun-dried tomatoes. I don’t like sun-dried tomatoes, so I stopped earlier, while the tomatoes were still somewhat juicy.
We’ve now discovered that if you roast tomatoes like any other vegetable, at 400F, they are just as tasty and are ready sooner! Just be careful not to burn them.
Here’s what to do:
- Trim the stems out of the tomatoes and remove any rotten spots.
- Take out the biggest clumps of seedy pulpy stuff. Eat them.
- Cut the tomatoes into bite-size pieces.
- In a bowl, combine olive oil (about 1 Tbsp. per tomato) with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and basil to taste.
- Place tomato chunks in the bowl and toss with a slotted spoon.
- Scoop out the tomato chunks and spread them in a single layer in a glass or ceramic baking pan. If you only have metal pans, you may want to line them with parchment paper to prevent the acid in the tomatoes from reacting with the metal.
- Bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Stir. If they are beginning to brown, bake another 5 minutes before you check them again; otherwise, give them another 10. Keep baking until they look very cooked and smell delicious!
- If not serving the roasted tomatoes immediately, store them in a glass jar in the refrigerator, or freeze them.
- Make sure to eat the delicious oil left in the baking pan! Soak it up with bread, or toss leftover cooked rice into the pan and stir it around to pick up the oil, if you don’t have any better ideas.
- If you have trouble removing blackened tomato juice from the pan, try this frugal scouring powder!