Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How to Make Slow Roasted Tomatoes

How to Make Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Slow Roasted Tomatoes are one of the greatest things about summer tomatoes!

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 six hours, the tomatoes are considerably more shriveled looking.








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.





I turned the larger tomatoes over and put them back in the oven for one more hour.








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.
counter customizable free hit

87 comments:

Alanna said...

Ah Kalyn those are just gorgeous! And the photos really help tell the story, too. I was very sad when we lost power last month and I lost the last few bags of these. Luckily, it's time to start roasting again!

Kalyn said...

Alanna, I could not have done it without you and Stephen.

wheresmymind said...

Man...I love south beach style cooking! Just can't kick sweets!!

Glenna said...

Oh God, Kalyn, those are beautiful. Oh sure, make me run out to the neighbors begging for more tomatoes since I just used the last one for lunch. Pfft, see what you do to me?
:-))))))))) I'm going to give your email address to the neighbors so they can write YOU with their complaints. It's not MY fault that you posted pics that look that delicious.

sher said...

I agree, they look wonderful. They held their shape so well, and they've got that slight charring--yum!!!!! Great post.

Ruth said...

Wow what a beautiful post. We were just in Montreal and went to a fabulous market that always makes me miss living there. We have lots of great stuff here in Toronto but nothing like Jean Talon Market. They had an abundance of juicy sweet tomatoes and I almost bought some to take home. It's just that it was so hot, no cooler and a six hour drivce that would probably have roasted the tomatoes without the help of your recipe.

christine said...

That does it! I'm not going to wait for my meager crop of tomatoes, I'm going to buy a bushel of organic romas and roast 'em!
Thanks Kalyn. Gorgeous photos, by the way.

Marcel said...

I just discovered your blog, and I must say that photographing food can be tricky. But you seem to get it. Nice work.

Kalyn said...

Wheresmymind, you'd be surprised how the craving for sweets goes away when you stop eating them. The first little bit can be, but it's not long before you don't want them.

Glenna, don't be ashamed to beg for tomatoes. They're worth it.

Sher, thanks. Actually I think what you think is charring is the herbs that are kind of browned.

Ruth, thanks. You're probably smart not to try to take them six hours in a hot car.

Christine!! Fun to see your face. You look great. I'll probably be buying some romas myself, since most of my tomatoes aren't romas.

Marcel, thanks so much. I'm trying to learn!

connie said...

Kalyn what supper pictures, I too will have to go buy these gorgeous tomatoes and make tons for the winter months, you say they may be frozen, does that mean plain or in oil? In plastic containers or will freezer bags do? Thank you for your lovely informative blog, have been reading you for a long time and am always impressed by the quality of your blog but since I don't blog myself I always hesitated to comment but those yummy tomatoes won me over and I just had to ask, thank you.

Kalyn said...

Hooray, Connie thanks for commenting! You can freeze the tomatoes in just a plastic bowl with a snap-on lid, but if you're not using them for quite a while I might go to a zip-loc freezer bag and squeeze out as much of the air as you can. BTW, I have a FoodSaver machine which vacuum packs things, and the totally ideal way to freeze these would be freeze them individually (on a cookie sheet or something similar) and then seal them into bags of 6-8, or how many you'd use in a recipe. But last year I froze most of mine in pastic containers and they were fine.

gattina said...

Kalyn,
I don't usually eat tomato, but after reading your post and recipe, I just realize I've missed this one of the most beautiful veg/fruit!

Pille said...

Those do look gorgeous, Kalyn! As I said, lucky you for having all those tomatoes in your garden. But wait until next year, when I'm settled in back home. I'll ask my mum to grow some tomatoes in her garden for me, so I can _maybe_ keep up with your tomatoes:)

Tanna said...

This is the most mind blowing post - absolutely beautiful!
I have roasted tomatoes for years but I've never done it this way. What I do is fast compared to this. I'm going to find some really good organic romas and try this. I simply can't get over just how good those look.
The pictures make all the difference. I'm really fascinated by the idea of pulling the skin off - seems like such a neat trick.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Glad you enjoyed the market, I really had fun and we will return. That was Sue by the way.

Kalyn said...

Gattina, the flavor of these is just incredible. I promise you'll love them.

Pille, can't wait to see your tomatoes next year.

Tanna, I hope you try them. When I first did it (last year) I was completely entranced by the flavor. Now, how about a photo of you?

steven said...

roasted tomatoes are great and it's perfect for those middle of the winter Roma tomatoes that don't have much flavor, the roasting makes them taste so much better.

JMom said...

oh I want to join the tomato roasters club too!! These look delicious, kalyn. Thanks for sharing the recipe and very timely too! The tomatoes are coming!

Christa said...

Kalyn,
Those roasted tomatoes look fabulous! I definitely want to try this recipe sometime. Thanks for posting it.

rand said...

Thanks for a FABULOUS dinner. And quite exquisite company as well. The slow roasted tomatoes were heaven. I like this, I get to eat slow roasted tomatoes at MY house (when you visit and cook) and at YOUR house (when I visit and you cook). As for the conversation, between blogging, photography, politics, gardening, blogging, real estate, movies, new cameras, HTML, blogging, Lieberman, tomatoes, Presidential incompetence, Adobe Lightroom, Dr. Love, and the blind taste tests between yellow squash and zucchini, I think we pretty much covered everything. Thanks again. We love you.

christine said...

Hi Kalyn, Just wanted to let you know that my first batch of slow-roasted tomatoes are in my oven as I write this. I'll post a photo with a shout out for you and Alanna when they're done. Thanks so much for this exciting recipe.

And for Wheresmymind, Kalyn is right, if you can give up sugar for just two weeks you will be amazed at how the craving goes away, how much better you feel and how determined you will be to continue on without sweets.

missbhavens said...

I am quite serious whan I say that I smelled the tomatoes from the web page. Seriously.

Genie said...

Kalyn, I finally got to use some of these from this summer -- so now I know that next summer, I'm definitely going to have to do many, many more batches of these. They're fabulous! And really versatile. I have one more container in the freezer (like I said, I really didn't freeze nearly enough...), and I have to decide how best to use them. Decisions, decisions!

Genie
The Inadvertent Gardener

Valli said...

I should have clicked Kalyn...I C you have already posted the recipe for slow roasted tomatoes. Thanks!! I will have to give it a try!!!

Rob said...

Mamma mia, this looks fantastic!

We have our Festival of World Cultures here next weekend so will hit the market (which travels over from France for the occasion) and stock up on quality tomatoes. I think my own supply won't be ready for a few more weeks and I don't want to wait to give this a go.

Andy said...

We tried these and they were just wonderful! I do have a question though. When I made them, I made them with some big meaty heirloom tomatoes. I cut them in quarters and did them for 9 hours at 200 degrees + another 3 at 250. Almost the entire 1st 9 hours the whole pan was very wet with juice from the tomatoes. Is this Normal? I was worried they would end up just stewing.

Thanks

Kalyn said...

Hi Andy,
The wetness is due to the type of tomato you used, and possibly how big you cut your pieces. The recipe calls for Roma tomatoes, which are really very dry compared to other types. You can make them with other tomatoes of course, but I might increase the heat a little and make sure the pieces are fairly small. Glad they still turned out to be tasty for you.

Luke & Kimmy said...

Kayln I stumbled across your blog looking for a marinara sauce. But I found so much more!!! All the tomato recipes look so good and I cant wait to try them. My wife and I planted 24 tomato plants 2 cherry tomato plants and 14 roma tomato plants this year. We couldnt figure out what we wanted to do with them all, but we know now. I love your blog. keep up the good work.
P.S. My wife and I are from Bountiful, Ut

Kalyn said...

Wow, it sounds like you'll have lots of tomatoes. Slow roasted tomatoes are a MUST in my opinion! I also wrote a series of posts last summer about using garden tomatoes (you could find them by searching "garden tomatoes" in the search bar.

How fun hearing from someone from Bountiful. I actually teach at West Bountiful Elementary, and my dad and sister live in Bountiful.

Char said...

Tomatoes roasting in the oven as I speak. yummmmmmmmm...!! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

How "green" can this be when you have to run the oven for 9 hours to get a bowl of cooked tomatoes? Yikes!

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, the recipe makes many containers of tomatoes, not just the one shown in the photo. The best way to do it is with several trays of tomatoes in the oven at the same time. Yes, it does take a long time, but to me it's worth it to preserve the tomatoes I have grown myself and not have to buy commercial produced tomatoes. I do think growing your own tomatoes and using them all winter is pretty "green" compared to buying all your food. And for me, the flavor and usefulness of slow-roasted tomatoes is worth it. Obviously, you're free to make your own choice about it.

Rosemerry said...

I used a different recipe before I found yours and roasted at 225 for 8 hours. I baked them cut side up and left the skins on - do you know what the difference is? They came out delicious. Also, the recipe I used said to put several whole unpeeled garlic cloves here and there between the tomatoes and you end up with roasted garlic! The house smelled wonderful too.

Kalyn said...

Rosemary I think there are infinite variations to this recipe; it's the long roasting time at a low temperature that's the most important thing. I love the idea of roasting garlic cloves with the tomatoes.

Anonymous said...

Very good receipe. Spraying the pan with PAM beforehand works better than the olive oil, which tends to caramalize and makes the finished product stick.

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, I've used olive oil with no sticking problems, but I would guess it depends a lot on the pan. Some people don't like Pam, so you should just use whichever you prefer.

Sandy said...

Hi - we do it a little differently, but aren't they delicious?

stephen said...

Kalyn...sorry to be SO-O-O-O slow on the uptake but thanks so much for the link...I'm getting traffic from it even now...I so love slow roasted tomatoes..thanks for a beautiful post...
best, S

Anonymous said...

Do these have a taste similar to sun-dried tomatoes?

How exactly do you freeze them? I have a bumper crop of Romas and I'm really interested in this method. Thanks!

Kalyn said...

I'd say they are similar, but even better than sun-dried tomatoes. I just freeze them in small plastic containers with as much as I think I'd use in a recipe, probably about a cup of the tomatoes in a container. They're great for soup, stew, and of course pasta sauce in the winter.

Louise said...

I too went on the net looking for info on freezing tomatoes & found your blog. Tomorrow I am going to slow roast some & freeze them. Now I just need a good recipe to use to reconstitute them as pasta sauce in November! Really enjoyed your site!

Kalyn said...

Louise, thanks for the feedback. Hope you enjoy the tomatoes; I love these!

Anonymous said...

Kalyn ... what type of basil do you grow..... I've seen different types.... I'm interested in growing some for fresh uses. Loved your recipes. I was looking for a tomato pesto recipe and mmmm the roasted tomatoes sound so good. Thanks..... ritamae66 at yahoo.com

Kalyn said...

I just buy the seeds or plants that are labeled "sweet basil" although sometimes I get the larger-leaf type that's called "lettuce leaf basil." I usually plant some basil plants to get me started and then 1 or 2 packets of basil seeds, which gives me lots of basil.

kd said...

Oh wow! They've been in the oven just 3 hours and the smell is out of this world. Thanks for the recipe!

edgyiam said...

I am so sad. I came home to a cookie sheet full of very crispy critters. Almost briquettes, in fact. I knew my oven ran a bit hot, but not like this.

Oh well, one of my farmer friends has many more tomatoes. I will try again later this week.

Kalyn said...

Oh that is sad! Sorry to hear it, but do try again.

kk said...

Hi! I loved your slow roasted tomatoes last year. I am slow roasting them this year and don't remember if I took the skins off last year. Do you have to take the skins off? The recipe doesn't mention it, but details above the recipe do. I froze them and used them for dipping oil for bread. do you have to take off the skins or do you recommend taking off the skins for pasta sauce? Thanks.

Kalyn said...

KK, I do always remove the skins, but I know other people who dont' bother. I'll edit the recipe to make that more clear, thanks!

Jeanette said...

Hi Kalyn,
Your site is great. I think I took my tomatoes out a little soon, already skinned, but am going to put them back in for awhile as soon as the bread comes out. Do you know of anyone putting them back in before and how it turned out.
Thanks again for all the wonderful recipes.
Jeanette

Jeanette said...

Kalyn, they didn't dry anymore putting them back in the oven, however, they were great spread on the 12 grain bread with some goat cheese. Going to turn the rest into tampenade tomorrow & try again next week with a fresh batch of tomatoes.
Jeanette

Kalyn said...

Jeanette, I haven't heard of anyone doing that but I think it will work okay.

Anonymous said...

I love to cook and am 80+ years old.

I first "discovered" slow roast tomatoes when I was bumped up to first Class by Quantas Airlines flying from Singapore to Melbourne, enroute to the Annual Rotay International Convention. I wonder howmany peoply have been temped to prepare at home "aircraft food" because it was so good? Pedro, St. Lucia

Kalyn said...

Pedro, what a fun story. I agree, usually airline food is not so tempting, but slow roasted tomatoes are truly wonderful.

Anonymous said...

we're about to come into summer, so tomatoes will certainly be on my table. i can't wait to try your slow roasted tomatoes Kalyn.
i also marvel at how three years after your original post, there is worthy content!
Suzie, Adelaide, South Australia

Kalyn said...

Suzie, the slow roasted tomatoes were a life-changing thing for me. This last summer I didn't get many tomatoes in my garden, and for the first time in several years I didn't make any to freeze. I'm already wondering what I'll do without them this winter.

wazzup said...

Just made them again since the stash in my freezer was out, but I was wondering, why cut side down. Don't they dry out sooner cut side up ? (actually I cut them in quarters because of that)

Kalyn said...

I put them cut side down so the skin wouldn't stick to the pan and so the cut edge will get a little carmelized where it touches the pan, but you can do it the opposite if you like.

Ethel said...

Please tell me how do I store these babies.

Kalyn said...

Ethel, in the post it says that I freeze them. I don't know about storing them other ways; that's the only way I've done it.

Michelle said...

I have been making these tomatoes for a couple years - using them in shrimp & crab alfredo has become my special secret ingredient. This year, I am harvesting yellow romas - I am so excited to roast a batch today and see how they turn out! I can picture the golden roasted romas in my alfredo & other pastas now!

Kalyn said...

Michelle, I love the idea of golden romas being roasted. I bet they will be absolutely wonderful. And so pretty to make a dish with red and yellow ones combined!

cookiecrumb said...

Oh! Lovely.

Kalyn said...

CC, about half of them were done after 6 hours; the others are finishing up now!

Jamie from PA said...

Hi Kalyn, I just bought a bunch of organic Plum tomatoes to roast and have a question... can I layer pans in the oven to get more done at once? If so, what adjustments should I make? Thanks and I am excited to throw these in the oven in the a.m.

Kalyn said...

Jamie, I'm sure you can layer pans in the oven. I'm guessing they'd take a little longer, but I haven't done it so I don't know how much. (I would rotate the pans a couple of times too.)

Anonymous said...

I just cooked two batches all day - one on a cookie sheet and the others on my Pamper Chef Stone - the stones were done first and I lost the whole batch as they are burned - nohing left. Very disappointing. To boot, I just left a bag full of my last crop of tomoatoes for the neighbors - I just hope that I get another batch before the end of the season.

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, sorry to hear that. The idea of this recipe is to cook them for a long time at low heat, so a pizza stone would work against that. Hope the ones on the cookie sheet are okay.

Valerie said...

Kalyn,

Can you slow roast green tomatoes (not ripe), have you ever tried this?

Kalyn said...

Valerie, I've never tried it or heard of anyone doing it. I usually wrap my green tomatoes in newspaper and let them ripen in the house. You could do that and then roast them.

If you try roasting green one, please let us know how they taste!

Valerie said...

Hi all,

OK, I tried the slow roasted green tomatoes. They don't taste bad, just very different from red.

1) skin comes off not as easily
2) really tastes like a fried green tomato
3) taste is not as robust as red.

I have mixed the red and green together in cooking and it helps the volume without ruining the taste.

Kalyn said...

Val, thanks for sharing your experiment trying it with green tomatoes. They might be good in salsa?

Valerie said...

Salsa, oh yes!! That would be really good!

Gia@ blooming tea said...

Those are perfect roasted tomatoes. This is great with Kebab and rice. :) I always have difficulties peeling the skin, thanks for your post, now I can do it easily. This is my first visit to your lovely blog and I'm loving it. ~ Gia

Kalyn said...

Gia, glad you're enjoying the slow roasted tomatoes, and welcome.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kalyn. Would this work for cherry & grape tomatoes, which are the tastiest and most affordable tomatoes to me just now, or should I wait for summertime fresh ones? Thanks, Jen H.

Kalyn said...

You can roast the cherry and grape tomatoes to bump up their flavor, but they don't get that slow roasted carmelization that the larger tomatoes do because you'll have to cook them for a much shorter time. I'd say it's most worth the time to do this when you have vine-ripened roma tomatoes in the summer, but if you want to try it with the tomatoes you have now they'll still be tasty.

Brandon clevevland said...

Hello I am planning on doing this using some perfectly ripened purple heirloom tomatoes and probably about half the quantity the recipe calls for (about 6-7 tomatoes each almost twice the size of your average Roma) any pointers or ideas as far as adjustments in time or temperature?

Thanks alot

Brandon

Kalyn said...

Brandon, regular tomatoes have a higher water content than the roma tomatoes I used, so I'm guessing your cooking time will be longer. I would watch them carefully the last few hours and take out each tomato as it's done.

Anonymous said...

Can I clone your article to my blog? Thank you…

Kalyn said...

No, I do not give permission for this post to be reproduced on another blog. I would consider such "cloning" to be copyright violation.

Anonymous said...

Looks great but too much time in the oven for me.

Elizabeth said...

I never thought of adding herbs to slow roasted tomatoes! Wait a minute! I've never thought of slow roasting tomatoes (except to really slow roast them in a very very low oven to dry them)

I bet these are fantastic! I'll be keeping my eyes open for baskets of plum tomatoes at the market now.

Kalyn Denny said...

Elizabeth, the roasted tomatoes really are so delicious and useful in lots of recipes.

The Analyzing Fool... said...

Kalyn,
Just picked up a case of roma tomatos from the farmer's market to have these goodies for the winter/spring. This is my 2nd year doing it and just wanted to thank you for the how-to and inspiration!

Kalyn Denny said...

You're so welcome, so glad you've enjoyed them.

Annabella Moon said...

Followed directions exactly, mine burned. I used Celebrity variety tomatoes (another canning variety.) Same oven settings, but woke to the smell of burned tomatoey sugar at 6.5 hours. Smaller (Roma sized toms) had nothing left to try, but the larger ones left a small amount between the char to taste test. I nearly ruined my late grandmother's baking pans :( If I try again I will roast at a time I can check them regularly, and I will begin looking for roasting pans at yard sales to use just in case.

Kalyn Denny said...

Annabella, sorry to hear that. I would use a meatier Roma type tomato for this. I've never made them without watching as they cook; I do recommend that.

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