JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Slow roasted tomatoes

I've been slow-roasting tomatoes like there was no tomorrow ... or, more specifically, because we are fast approaching the moment of the year when there'll be no more tomatoes for those of us who try to eat only local and seasonal food.

Whichever recipe you are following, you start in the same way: cut your tomatoes in half, sprinkle them with thyme and drizzle them with oil. At this point, there's huge variation in ideas ... I've tried four or five different speeds, and the very best, Rolls Royce way to roast tomatoes, is to put them in the oven at 80-100C for 11 or 12 hours. This, of course, isn't always possible. If you don't start early in the morning, you'll have a very late night. If you start too early in the evening then you have to have an early start. So you can boost the temperature to about 120C and cook them for seven or eight hours. You'll quite quickly know how they should look when they're done, dried out but not browned - and you'll find they cook at different rates, depending on size and - possibly - variety & age.

Then, there are a number of options. Some people slip off the skins (best done while they're still warm); I don't bother. You can pack them in boxes or plastic bags and freeze them to use in soups and stews. You can put them into jars (with more thyme, perhaps a bay leaf, etc) and cover them with olive oil, then they'll keep for 4-6 weeks in the fridge, and the oil (surprisingly little) is deliciously flavoured for cooking later. Or you can sieve them to make passata (best frozen).

I keep a plastic box on the go in the fridge ... I pull them to pieces in a salad (lovely to mix fresh with roasted), I heat them quickly to have on toast for breakfast, I use them in sauces which need a flavour boost. I think they'd be great pulled apart and thrown over pasta with some oil and a few chilli flakes for a quick supper.

Really useful, delicious, quick, a fabulous way to use up a glut of tomatoes (not a real problem for us this year, sadly), and very eco-friendly.


Katie Zeller said...

I have no tomatoes in my garden - they died in June. And I refuse to buy the shipped in variety for, the few times I've found local ones I've been scrambling to get all I could - which is not many. No one in this area has decent tomatoes this year.
Maybe next year will be better.

Lovely round-up by the way... maybe we'll get a few warm days to do some more cooking outside.

Sara said...

Don't know why I forgot about slow roasting tomatoes - I've been getting tons of them in my CSA box, and had been making gazpacho, various salads, and sliced fresh with basil on pasta, but had forgotten about how amazing they taste slow roasted!! Thanks-

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Roasted tomatoes are heaven! the very best!