If you have a garden, or even access to a farmer's market where you can get good fresh tomatoes, and you haven't tried making slow roasted tomatoes, you've missed an absolute treat. I first learned about slow roasted tomatoes last year when I was just starting to read food blogs.
Suddenly it seemed like everyone was making roasted tomatoes, from Cookiecrumb, to Stephen, to Alanna, who tried lots of variations and posted the master recipe for slow roasted tomatoes which I (mostly) followed here. For years I had made tomato sauce from the tomatoes in my garden and frozen it to use all winter in soups, stews, and pasta sauce. But I hadn't ever made roasted tomatoes.
Here's what I did to get those lovely looking roasted tomatoes you see in the photo above, which I'm going to be turning into pasta salad with roasted tomatoes on Thursday, when some very special guests are coming for dinner. (Complete recipe at the end.)
If possible, use a Roma type tomato for best flavor. You need about 20 tomatoes to fill a cookie sheet . Cut the tomatoes in half, leaving the stem piece whole.
I tossed the tomatoes with olive oil, ground fennel, dried basil, dried oregano, and dried marjoram.
I sprayed the cookie sheet with an olive oil mister, then arranged the tomatoes cut-side down on the cookie sheet. I had pre-heated the oven to 250 F. (see recipe.)
After 3 hours, the skins of the tomatoes are just starting to wrinkle up a bit, and the house is starting to smell tomatoey.
After two more hours, the smaller tomatoes are done. I took the tomatoes out, let them cool a bit, and pinched off the skins. Most of the skins came off easily. Leave the water running to rinse your hands.
This round bowl 5 1/2 inches across and 2 1/2 inches high is how many tomatoes I got (minus a few that I ate!) The tomatoes taste like a month of summer experienced in one day.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes Kalyn's Way
(slightly adapted from Alanna's master recipe)
20 Roma type tomatoes (same size tomatoes are best if your garden cooperates)
2 T olive oil, plus a little to oil the pan if you don't have a mister
1 T ground fennel
2 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried majoram
(Any combination of herbs that appeals to you can be used.)
Preheat oven to 250 F (about 9 hours roasting time) or 200 F (10-11 hours roasting time.) I used the shorter time, but mainly because my antique oven will not stay at 200 F.
Wash tomatoes, dry, and cut each tomato in half lengthwise, keeping the stem spot in one piece (to grab when peeling the tomatoes later.) Put tomatoes in a bowl and toss with olive oil and herbs.
Spray cookie sheet with olive oil mister (or brush very lightly with oil). Arrange tomatoes cut-side down on cookie sheet.
After about 8 hours, start checking tomatoes. They're done when skins puff up and tomatoes are reduced in size by at least half. It's a personal preference as to how dried you like them, and I prefer to cook mine until they look fairly dense, but still a tiny bit juicy.
As tomatoes seem done, remove them from the pan. (Some will take longer than others.) Let them cook for a few minutes, then remove the skin by grabbing at the stem end and pulling off. Most of the skins come off easily. (Removing the skin is optional, but I always remove it.)
These tomatoes have an intense tomato flavor that you probably can't get any other way. They can be eaten hot or cold. They freeze wonderfully to use all winter in soups, stews, and pasta sauces.
The roasted tomatoes would be delicious chopped, tossed with freshly cooked pasta with a bit of olive oil, some fresh basil, and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Last year I didn't make nearly enough roasted tomatoes and ran out long before winter was over! But here are a few of the recipes I've used them in:Leftover Roast Beef Italian Stew
Goulash Soup with Red Pepper and Cabbage
Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup
Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil
And here's a nice tribute to the slow roasted tomatoes.