In the beginning, way back in May, our friend Bev gave us five leftover tomato plants and a roll of chicken wire. My husband Ted and Ben, our teenaged helper, constructed a cage we hoped would be chipmunk-proof (it wasn't). We nestled the plants into our home-grown compost, and I watered and waited, until the plants took hold. Goldfinches sunbathed on the tops of the posts, bees pollinated the flowers, and all was right with the world.... except that Mother Nature was in no hurry to coax tomatoes from our vines and, once we began to get ripe tomatoes, she decided to cut the season short by sending the heavy rains and wind of Hurricane Irene. The plants are almost gone by now, and for the past two weeks, we've had far more green tomatoes than red ones, so I thought, why not slow-roast those green tomatoes? I'm so glad I did. The method is exactly the same as for slow-roasted red tomatoes, but the green tomatoes, because they're unripe, turn more tart than sweet. I like to roast plum tomatoes that are heavy and meaty for their size, but you can use any size or shape of green tomato. Please do try this; you'll really like the salty bite, which pairs so well with mild cheese like mozzarella, and with pasta.
Slow-roasted green tomatoes
Makes 4 cups of tomato halves.
5 lbs plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
Fresh black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
Olive oil (not extra virgin)
Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with several layers of aluminum foil.
Set the tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. If you're using garlic sprinkle the minced garlic over all the tomatoes (I opted not to use garlic, to give me more flexibility in how I use the finished tomatoes).
Drizzle olive oil liberally over all of the tomatoes.
Bake at 200F for 7 hours.
At that point, check the tomatoes to make sure they are not too crispy; this will depend on the size of your tomatoes. The goal is to have tomatoes that are chewy and still slightly moist, though totally collapsed. If you are using large tomatoes, you might want to cook them for one additional hour. However, the green tomatoes have less moisture than red ones, so although red plum tomatoes might cook for 10 hours, the green ones will be finished in 7-8 hours.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Pack into containers or jars for the refrigerator, or into ziploc bags for the freezer. Be sure to include the oil from the pan, too; it has wonderful flavor.
Slow-roasted tomatoes will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, or in the freezer for a year or more.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Pasta salad with shrimp, feta, basil and slow-roasted tomatoes
Goat cheese and basil bruschetta
Corn, bean and two tomato salad
Pasta with roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts and shrimp
Chicken paella with slow-roasted tomatoes
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil panini, from Panini Happy
Slow roasted tomato hummus, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tomato soup with roasted red peppers, from Andrea's Recipes
Lentils and quinoa with slow-roasted tomatoes, baby spinach and mushrooms, from Cowgirl Chef
Crispy salmon with risotto and slow roasted tomatoes, from More Than Burnt Toast
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