Yesterday I slow roasted five pounds of small, ripe, homegrown tomatoes given to me by a generous co-worker who owns a hobby farm. By slow roasting, I mean four or more hours at a low 200 – 250 degrees fahrenheit. Slow roasting minimizes moisture loss and concentrates flavor. I wanted to reduce the moisture content – not dry it out or burn it.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
- 5 lbs. small to medium sized tomatoes, stems and blemishes removed, cut in halves
- 1 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling over tomatoes
- 1 sprig fresh oregano, basil or thyme, rinsed and towel dried
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into four halves
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2-3 flat baking pan (cookie sheet or roasting pan) with parchment paper. Place tomato halves cut side up. Be careful not to crowd the pan, allowing space between the tomato halves. Sprinkle the tomato halves with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper and drizzle lightly and evenly with olive oil.
Place the pans on the oven racks and roast for two hours. Check every hour and the rotate pans. Raise temperature to 250 and roast for another 2 or more hours. The tomatoes will be done when the moisture is mostly reduced but still soft to the touch. The tomatoes will be much smaller and darker reddish brown but not burned or even scorched. Some of the smaller tomatoes might appear more “sundried” than the larger tomatoes. This is acceptable, depending on the outcome you desire.
In a clean quart-sized jar, insert a piece of garlic and the herb sprig. Spoon in about a fourth of the tomatoes. Then layer in another piece of garlic with another fourth of the tomatoes, and repeat this step two more times until there are no tomatoes or sliced garlic remaining. Add enough olive oil to cover the tomatoes then jostle (do not shake) the jar lightly to remove any air bubbles and then fasten the lid. There is no need to seal the jar in a hot water bath, but remember to keep the jar refrigerated and use clean utensils when handling the tomato pieces.
These tomatoes are delicious eaten on toast with fresh goat cheese, tossed into pasta, stacked into your favorite sandwich. This is concentrated tomato flavor, so a little goes a long way. Store covered in the fridge for a few weeks but I bet it won’t last that long.