Monday, October 10, 2016

Meatless Monday: Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Those of you who read my recent post on peaches know that I cannot pass up a bargain, particularly when it comes to food. At a late Friday stop at Bishops’s Orchards in Guilford, Connecticut (on a quick mission to buy lettuce on our way home from Hammonasset Beach State Park) we discovered that large baskets of plum tomatoes were available for just under $11. We had to buy one.

When the weather turned surprisingly wet and windy on Sunday, I had the perfect opportunity to turn these beauties into two large batches of Oven Roasted Tomatoes, using a recipe from a cookbook called The Cape Cod Table, by Lora Brody.

In her preface to the recipe Lora Brody wrote, “These tomatoes will become a kitchen staple when you see how much punch and flavor they add to a vast number of dishes, including soups, sauces, fish, poultry, and meat.”

She is so right. I have been cooking up multiple batches in early fall for the past several yearsI use my largest stainless steel baking pan; it holds 30 plum tomatoes, by my calculations equal to the amount called for in the recipe. The recipe is really easy if you have a large pan and a bit of time on your hands.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
  • 5 pounds of plum tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 large springs fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dry thyme leaves [Fresh is great, but dry is fine.]
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar [I used balsamic with a delicious result.]
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • Five or six peeled shallots if available [My tweak. I had some on hand and had used them in the past in a similar recipe.]

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F, with the rack in the upper third of the oven, but not the highest position.
  • Place the thyme in the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Spread the tomatoes over the thyme, in one layer if possible.
  • Scatter the shallots.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the vinegar and salt.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the tomatoes have browned (unevenly) and given up their juices and the juices have reduced and become slightly thickened and syrupy. [I let them go for an hour and a half.]
  • Allow the tomatoes to cool in the pan.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs if used.

Tomatoes before cooking

Once the tomatoes are out of the oven I let them cool down and congeal a bit at room temperature. I put them in a covered glass casserole overnight in the fridge and then bag them in freezer bags, label and date them, and lay them flat in the freezer; I find that three cups per bag works well. If you don’t eat them they will last until next season.

Tomatoes when they are done

My favorite use? Can I mention fish on Meatless Monday? I like to use my oven roasted tomatoes for baking or poaching cod fillets. I discovered individually wrapped MSC certified  Atlantic Cod Fillets, frozen in packages of six at Whole Foods. Three cups of tomatoes is the perfect amount for cooking two fillets, and that is all you need to make a great meal. It is easier if you thaw the fillets in the refrigerator a day ahead.

However you use your oven roasted tomatoes, I promise you will be amazed at just how easy it is to give yourself a taste of summer all winter long.

Happy Monday!

I often blog on food, food issues, or topics related to growing things on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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