Sunday, April 20, 2008

perfect (ridiculously simple) tomatoes for salad

I don't like the texture of raw tomatoes in my salad, and having purchased some gorgeous spinach yesterday as well as some lovely, ripe organic roma tomatoes, I decided some roasting was in order this morning. These take three hours to roast but only about six minutes to prepare, and are more flavorful and exciting than regular tomatoes. Roasted tomatoes are excellent on pizza (a nice contrast with the relatively mild, less sweet sauce) or chopped up and tossed into pasta with olive oil, garlic, and spinach. The roasting time can be adjusted to suit your preferences; 1 1/2 to 2 hours will yield juicier, but still heavenly, tomatoes that will play nicely with pasta or on bruschetta. Make as many tomatoes as you need or desire, but keep in mind that you'll end up with a lot less than you started with. Many people dress these up with garlic, herbs and the like, but in my opinion the plain kind are the most versatile.

Incidentally, since the flavors are concentrated here this is an excellent use for tomatoes that are watery or less flavorful than you'd like.

perfect tomatoes

8-12 roma tomatoes
2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat to 275. Line a roasting dish with aluminum foil (easy cleanup; not necessary). Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into pan and use the back of a spoon, or a basting brush, to spread evenly. Wash tomatoes. Split each in half lengthwise, and using a paring or other small knife, cut around the stem. Using a small spoon, scoop out the tomato innards and discard. Place tomatoes, cut side up, in roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil to your preferences, about 1-3 tablespoons. Sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt, again to your preferences, and a little bit of fresh ground black pepper. Put tomatoes into oven and leave them alone for 1 1/2-3 hours. Tomatoes are ready when your house smells amazing and/or they look about as dry as appeals to you.

Yields X fantastic tomatoes.

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