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September 2, 2007

Slow-roasted tomatoes (Recipe: slow-roasted tomato bruschetta) {vegetarian}

Roasted tomatoes

When my pantry was just a baby, it could hold everything I knew about cooking in a very small cupboard, on a single shelf.

In those days, before I discovered Asian condiments and imported pasta and sea salts and dried chile peppers and online spice merchants, the most adventurous thing in my pantry was a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, a gift from a friend who'd been to Italy -- or maybe just to Boston's most Italian neighborhood, the North End. I had no idea what to do with those shriveled-up tomatoes, but they looked exotic sitting in the jar, next to the more mundane black pepper and baking soda and dried oregano. It was many months before I began tossing one in here and there, in sauces and sautés.

It's been two years since I've had any sun-dried tomatoes in The Perfect Pantry, two years since I discovered something even more perfect: slow-roasted tomatoes, made in my very own oven, with herbs and garlic from my very own garden and meaty plum tomatoes from a farm up the road. I season my tomatoes with thyme, which is my all-purpose favorite herb, along with sea salt, pepper, garlic, and a lovely olive oil.

They're easy to make, easy to freeze, and easy to share with friends (nobody has ever turned down my gift of slow-roasted tomatoes!). The real gift, though, is to your cooking, especially in mid-winter when you can savor the burst of summer flavor while your garden is covered in snow. You can add some of these rich tomatoes, with their concentrated flavor, to hummus, pasta, savory tarts, salad dressing or soup.

A half-sheet pan (jelly-roll pan) holds five pounds of plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise. It sounds like a lot, but I'll make two or three pans each summer. And one of the best things about slow-roasted tomatoes is that, with five minutes of prep, you can create a pantry staple that will carry you through from one tomato season to the next.

Slow-roasted tomato bruschetta

Too easy, and too delicious, here's what I'm bringing to La Festa al Fresco, a celebration of fresh foods of the season, hosted by Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice and Lis of La Mia Cucina. Serves 6-8 (makes 24 pieces).

Ingredients

1 baguette, sliced thinly on an angle (approx. 24 pieces)
1 large clove garlic, peeled but left whole
8 slow-roasted tomato halves
12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 24 pieces
24 small basil leaves
Very good balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Coarse ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on a sheet pan, and toast under the broiler for 1-2 minutes on each side (depending on the heat of your broiler -- in my infrared, it's a short minute from raw to charred), until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, and rub the bread on the top side with the garlic clove.

Chop the tomatoes coarsely, and spread evenly over the 24 pieces of bread. Top each with a slice of cheese, a basil leaf, a drizzling of balsamic vinegar, and some black pepper.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes
Linguine with tomato-olive sauce
My own meat sauce

Need more creative ideas for using tomatoes all year round? Get 25 Tomatoes, my e-book packed with fantastic recipes, full-color photos and a fun video tutorial. With the FREE Kindle Reading app, delicious tomato recipes will always be just one click away on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Click here to learn more.

Comments

Gorgeous photo, Lydia - and slow-roasted tomatoes are HARD!!!

I keep seeing these slow roasted tomatoes everywhere and they look so darn good. I have yet to make them but ... That's it! I am going to the farmers market right now and picking up 5 pounds. Thanks

I can just imagine the intense flavors coming from these babies...looks extremely yummy!

What a fantastic photo! Aren't slow roasted tomatoes just wonderful. I made two batches yesterday and will be making two more tomorrow. And still more tomatoes coming!

Great post; I'm going to link it with my slow roasted tomato post earlier this week!

Fab picture Lydia, and great entry :) I love slow roasted tomatoes, mmm.

I can vouch for the yummyness of your slow roasted tomatoes. They were delicious and unfortunately are "no more". I'm making a special trip to the farmers market to make a batch.

My mom has been making slow-roasted tomatoes for years, and there is nothing better in the winter than the taste of summer in a bag.
yummmmmy!

B
http://handtomouthkitchen.wordpress.com

Oh Lydia, thank you so much for bringing this beautiful bruschetta to the Festa!

We have been overwhelmed with tomatoes in our garden this year and we've wondered what the heck we were going to do with all of them, since neither of us like going through the process of canning (we've got more than we can handle, but not enough to go through the whole canning process if that makes sense?) SO this way of keeping them is so much better for us - I know he's going to love these.. thanks for giving me the idea and sharing the recipe!

xoxo

The perfect thing to do with end of the season tomatoes!
So, what is the best way to freeze them?

I did them last year, and you are right, they were wonderful all winter! I'm going to have to hope for tomatoes next year....or maybe break down and buy some.... Yeah, probably that! That photo is just making me too hungry~

I made bruschetta yesterday, and I wish I'd known about this technique. I can almost taste the smokey-concentrated flavor in your luscious photo!

Alanna, thank you. And roasted tomatoes are easy to make, but hard to resist!

Andy, just do it! You will be so glad when it's the middle of winter and you have these tomatoes in your freezer.

Veron, I love to load them up with garlic and thyme, and a sprinkling of sea salt (not too much -- you can always add when you use them later).

Kalyn, thank you. I've really been enjoying your tomato week posts -- so many great ideas.

Kelly-Jane, thanks. I'm not much of a food photographer, but I think this one captures the goodness of the tomatoes.

Pauline, I'll tell you a secret -- the tomatoes I use come from the farm stand on Rt. 102 just south of Rt. 44 in Chepachet. Don't know why, but his plum tomatoes are the best.

B, I agree completely!

Lisa, I don't have the patience for canning, so roasting and freezing these tomatoes has been a perfect way to savor the harvest.

Sandi, I freeze them either in plastic containers, packed in tightly with the oil that's left on the baking sheet, or in zip lock bags (remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag). They keep for a year -- until the next tomato harvest!

Katie, I've made these with tomatoes from any friend who gives me garden leftovers -- cherry tomatoes, giant beefsteaks, whatever. But I don't grow my own tomatoes, so when I buy, I go for plum.

TW, the nice thing about these tomatoes is that you can make any quantity -- just a few, or the whole five-pound sheet pan. Then freeze, and you can make bruschetta all winter. And pasta sauce, and pizza topping, and lots of other good things.

Great idea :) One question though, do you peel the tomatoes first before roasting them?

Absolutely lovely! I love slow-roasting tomatoes. It's the best way to enjoy them. So full of flavor!

Birdseyechili, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. No, I don't peel or seed the tomatoes. I leave all the goodness in the tomatoes when I slow roast them, but sometimes when I use the cooked tomatoes in a recipe, I'll seed them. You could slip the peels off at that point too, if you wanted to.

Meeta, I agree!

Well, Lydia, it 7:37 am, and I'm salivating for your roasted tomatoes. This is a delicious photo and recipe. I just love the rich flavor and versatility of roasted tomatoes.

Lydia,

This has to be one of the best recipes of the year! Your tomatoes are just gorgeous. Thank you for bringing them to the festa.

P.S. Can I have an extra helping?

Years when my garden is overrun with tomatoes, (unfortunately not this year) I sun dry my own and pack them in olive oil with herbs, they're delicious!

Susan, thanks. I love these tomatoes, too. In fact, I've got another five-pound batch in the oven right now.

Ivonne, absolutely yes!

Brilynn, I've never tried sun drying tomatoes. I know you can do it in the oven, which isn't really "sun" drying. How do you dry yours?

This is food porn, Lydia. Seriously!

you have managed to make roasted tomatoes very photogenic! delish. I am doing this when it cools off a bit here in central MA

Patricia, I think I just got lucky with this shot -- the tomatoes were right out of the oven, and I grabbed my camera and took this photo on top of the stove!

Nika, thanks! I'm going to make another batch later this week, when the weather cools down. Even on a low temperature, the heat of the oven for many hours in my kitchen, which has very low ceilings, can be uncomfortable, even though the end result is worth it.

Oh my goodness - that is a gorgeous photograph. Great idea to freeze these beauties for the winter!

I love tomatoes and how smart to use the the tomatoes as the base :)

Hillary, thanks! A lucky shot, I think.... Pulling these out of the freezer in the middle of winter is a real treat.

Tigerfish, these tomatoes are so good that you really just want to do very little to them.

Lydia, Thanks to your mouthing watering photo here, I made these and they were great! The only bad part was that about an hour after they started to roast the whole house smelled so good, it was like torture waiting for them!

Andy, thanks so much for writing to tell me! I'm delighted that you made the tomatoes; I know you'll find many wonderful things to do with them. And now you'll think, how did I ever live without slow roasted tomatoes.....

You're torturing me with this photo!

I'm running to the kitchen to hurry up and slow roast...

Karen, they'll make the house smell so good, you won't believe it.... have fun!

If you make these tomatoes without any herbs, they are an amazing addition to stews, soups and sauces throughout the winter.

I freeze these tomatoes in small and medium plastic bags...
great recipe....

I am drooling as these tomatoes are slowly roasting away....yummmm

Sumi, I meant to make another batch today, but never got them into the oven. It's fun to vary the herbs, or eliminate them as you suggest, to create a variety of slow roasted tomatoes to use in your cooking.

I have a really basic question about the slow roasted tomatoes. I've started venturing into using that cabinet-type thing below my stove only recently. Do you just leave the tomatoes in the oven for hours together with the oven essentially switched off after pre-heating or is there a "low" switched on setting so that the oven doesn't just cool off?

Mithila, you do need to leave the oven turned on in order for the slow cooking to continue for so many hours. Does your oven have a temperature gauge (in which case, set it at the lowest number, 225 or 200 degrees F), or set to low. If the oven cools down, the cooking will stop before the tomaotes are done.

Hi Lydia,

Those tomatoes look incredible and just scream summer! I can't wait until I have them fresh from the garden.

I'm so pleased that you are recommending Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day to your readers. Happy baking and enjoy all the bread.

The photo is simply gorgeous! I bet they tasted amazing!

Zoe, My Sweet & Saucy: Welcome to The Perfect Pantry! I hope you'll be making slow-roasted tomatoes this summer. Once you do, you'll never want to be without some in your freezer.

Is it necessary to seed the tomatoes before roasting? I recently roasted some tomatoes and even after more than an hour of roasting there was quite a bit of liquid.

Adrienne, I never seed the tomatoes -- though you can if you want to -- and I roast mine for at least 8 hours. With long roasting, the liquid evaporates slowly and helps to kind of steam the tomatoes as its evaporating. This results in tomatoes that are not absolutely dried out, but have extremely concentrated flavor.

I am making them now. They look amazing in the photo and are starting to smell wonderful.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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