Slow Roasted TomatoesMelissa d'Arabian of Food Network's Ten Dollar Dinners, slow roasted some tomatoes on her show last weekend, to use as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken ... which reminded me that I had about a pound of odds and ends tomatoes I need to use up. These were from the last round of my summer garden harvest that were sitting in a basket on the counter, and starting to get soft. A gal can only eat so many tomato sandwiches y'all!
I keep hoping that I'll see another round of tomatoes out there before cooler weather sets in, since the plants are still healthy. While they keep loading up on blooms, like most of this summer, the stifling heat index levels keep causing massive blossom drop and though there are a few green ones out there, it's not looking good for much of a fall harvest.
The great thing about slow roasting tomatoes is that you can use those less than perfect tomatoes and still manage to extract some deep flavor out of them anyway. I used a mish-mash mixture of tomatoes out of the garden - some Romas, some Creoles and Better Boys - and was happy with the way they looked at about an hour. Take them up to another hour, or even longer if needed, especially if you're using larger tomatoes. Keep an eye on them though - you don't want to take them so far that you end up with dried tomatoes.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and halve about a pound of tomatoes. You don't even have to bother with skinning them. I put them into a bowl, added some onion, some garlic cloves - I used 5 small to medium sized cloves - and you don't even need to bother with peeling those either, although I did cut one tip off of each, just to make them easier to squeeze out later. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme and toss everything with some olive oil.
Pour it all out onto a baking sheet, turning all of the tomatoes cut side down and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake at 275 degrees for one to two hours - the total time will depend on the size of your tomatoes. While I've seen several recipes roasting for significantly longer - some as long as 10 hours - I find these to be perfect. Frankly who wants to run an oven that long considering that the peak season for tomatoes, is also the peak season for heat and humidity! Mine went for an hour and were just where I wanted them - roasted, but still nice and juicy and so flavorful. Strip off the sprigs, squeeze the garlic from its peel and add everything - including any pan juices - to a food processor or blender.
Then just process it to the desired consistency - chunky, or fully pureed, if you like - adding additional olive oil, as needed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
This sauce can be used right away, or placed into muffin cups or ice cube trays to freeze and then stored in zipper freezer bags, or just transferred by the cup to freezer bags for freezing. You can also add additional seasonings as desired, but I prefer to do that once I know what the intent of my sauce is!
Slow roasted tomatoes make a fantastic accent to a number of dishes - great for dipping grilled chicken, fish, shrimp and fried cheese sticks in, or as a condiment for burgers. They are a great base for a sauce and paired with just about any protein for pasta or rice, or can be used in a homemade fresh tomato soup, on bruschetta or even as a pizza sauce! Really anyplace where you would use tomato sauce. Instead of processing them, let them cool, slip the skins off if you like, and add them to a Mason jar topped with extra olive oil and keep in the fridge for sandwiches or snacking! The low and slow roasting really concentrates the sugars of the tomatoes and makes this a beautiful, flavorful sauce. Nothing could be easier y'all, and it's a great way to use up some of that summer bounty. Enjoy.
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Recipe: Slow Roasted Tomatoes©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 5 min |Cook time: 1 hour | Yield: About 1 cup per pound
- 1 pound of tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 Vidalia or sweet yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 5 cloves of small to medium toes of garlic, unpeeled
- About 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Sprigs of fresh thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and halve the tomatoes. Place them into a bowl, add the onion, garlic cloves and sprigs of fresh thyme and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat, reserving some for later.
Turn out onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes cut side down. Bake at 275 degrees for about 1 hour, or up to 2 hours for larger tomatoes, or until they are well roasted but still juicy. Strip off the sprigs, squeeze the garlic from its peel and add everything - including any pan juices - to a food processor or blender. Process to desired consistency, adding additional olive oil, if needed; taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Serving Suggestions: Slow roasted tomatoes make a fantastic accent to a number of dishes, for dipping grilled chicken, fish, shrimp and fried cheese sticks in, or as a condiment for burgers. They are a great base for a sauce and paired with just about any protein for pasta or rice, or can be used in soup, on bruschetta or even as a pizza sauce! Really anyplace where you would use tomato sauce. Instead of processing them, let them cool, slip the skins off if you like, and add them to a Mason jar topped with extra olive oil and keep in the fridge for sandwiches or just pop 'em in your mouth as a snack!
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