Oven Roasted Tomatoes

We decided to give the square foot garden one more try.  Last year didn’t work out so well.  It turns out that soil made from Christmas tree compost is lacking in important things like nitrogen.  Duh!  And this year the excuse problem was deer.  Annoying deer that have a taste for squash blossoms and tomatoes.  I’m considering issuing hunting licenses for our back yard.

If you are a successful gardener you could make this with your own home grown tomatoes – any variety will work.  But if you are garden compromised, I promise that Compari tomatoes (available all year at Costco) work beautifully.

Something magical happens to tomatoes roasted in the oven.  All the tomato flavor is condensed into a little ruby jewel with all the flavor of a big tomato packed into one little bite.  We put them in salads and sandwiches and on crackers and pizza and even pasta.  Tomorrow Rebekah and I are making flatbread on the barbecue grill.  We’ll be putting olive oil, fresh rosemary, oven roasted tomatoes, and goat cheese on top. Scott’s out of town, poor thing, because even though he has a general dislike of cooked fruit (and tomatoes are technically a fruit) he still likes these.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Inspired by Fine Cooking

tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
dried thyme
salt and pepper
sugar
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Cut tomatoes in half, crosswise, along the equator.  Hold tomatoes over the sink and squeeze out the seeds.  If the seeds are resistant use your fingers to scoop out the inner flesh.  Don’t worry about losing too much tomato – by the time you are done the tomatoes will look like little empty saucers:

Place tomatoes in a large bowl.  Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil and gently lift and stir the tomatoes with your hands to make sure they are evenly coated with the oil.  These are not deep fried tomatoes, so don’t go crazy, just grease them up a bit.
Place the tomatoes, cut side up and in a single layer, on the parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle a tiny amount of sugar over each tomato – just a little pinch.  Next drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the tops, followed by a pinch of dried thyme and a generous amount kosher salt and pepper.
Place the tomatoes in the oven and walk away.  Depending on the size and moisture of the tomatoes they might take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to finish roasting.  Just keep checking them every 30 minutes or so, until they resemble the picture.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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