Roasty toasty

roasted tomatoesYou know that phenomenon of seeing something for the first time and then suddenly seeing it everywhere? This year, that happened to me with one particular recipe. It first popped up around July and since then, I’ve read variations in food magazines, books, an online newsletter, and an email listserv. I began to wonder how it was possible that I’d never encountered it before this summer. Although the recipe has variations, the method is usually simple and always brilliant.

And what is it? It’s the recipe for roasted tomatoes.

Needless to say, I eventually had to try it. Usually billed as a way to save that special fruit for a time when the word “heirloom” again conjures silver broaches rather than buckets of buxom multi-colored produce, this recipe also produces a very tasty addition to just about any dish. Roasting tomatoes does dramatically reduce their volume and allows you to freeze them for months, but it also concentrates their tart, sweet, salty goodness and often adds a smoky flavor to boot. And like I said, it’s quite simple.

Here’s the basic idea:

Cut your tomatoes into uniform halves or quarters, keeping in mind that smaller pieces will roast faster. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper (or just olive oil) and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 2 ½-3 hours or until most of the moisture is gone. Pack into freezer bags and freeze in a single, flat layer. The end!

You can use these tasty chunks of summer in pesto, pasta sauce, tapenade, soup… you name it.

So if you still have outrageous amounts of tomatoes, now you know what to do with them. Or you can save this in the back of your culinary consciousness until the beefsteaks, valley girls, and early boys floweth over once again next year. Either way, odds are you’ll see this recipe again.

PS. The image is from http://www.vanesscipes.com. Yum!

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