Slow-roasted intensity

roasted-tomatoes.jpg 

This was a good year for tomatoes. 

As the nights are cooling and the days are getting shorter, the overgrown three tomato plants in my backyard are heavily-laden, madly producing fruit as a last, desperate attempt to pro-create and leave plenty of seed behind.  If I am attentive and cover the plants diligently as cold weather and snow arrive (October is often snowier in intermittent dumps in Colorado than in December), I could still be eating tomatoes at Thanksgiving time.  We've done it before.  They aren't like mid-summer eatings: sweet and juicy and huge, but rather make good Fried Green slices and mock-apple pie.

But right now, as summer has morphed into a picture perfect Autumn with cool mornings and crisp nights, bright sunlight and north winds – there is an abundance.  By now, we've worn people out with gifts of tomato and have to make several trips to carry in the daily harvest.  So right now is the perfect time to slow-roast these beauties into rich, intensified bolts of flavor for use in millions of other ways.

At the hospital for the annual "m" a week ago or so, I picked up a special fall issue of a gourmet magazine and tried their recipe for roasted tomatoes.  I have done it twice now and will probably use almost all of the rest of the '07 bounty this way:

  • 350-degree oven
  • Spritz the bottom of 2 glass cake pans with non-stick spray (olive-oil flavored, if you have it)
  • Cut medium to large sized tomatoes in half on the hemisphere and place them, cut side up, in the pan.  They should be touching and "crowded" in the pan.  It took 12-15 tomatoes for me to fill 2 glass cake pans. 
  • Drizzle generously with olive oil.  All slices should get some!
  • Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar per pan over the top.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon per pan with dry Italian seasoning or oregano or basil to your liking
  • Generous salt and pepper, garlic salt is good here.
  • Yesterday, I threw in whole cloves of garlic for the roasting, too
  • Set your timer for 2 1/2 hours.  When it goes off, leave them in the hot oven for at least another 1/2 hour.
  • Keep all drippings for storing your roasted tomatoes

Your house will smell like heaven.  When you scoop a bite into your mouth, your tastebuds will swell as if liquid sun filled with the flavor of a thousand summer tomatoes  just dropped on your tongue.

The tomatoes cook down from 12-15 nice-sized fruit to a sandwich-bag full of menu potential.

You can eat them just as they are – hot and dripping with flavor (for the bold and courageous only) or toss them with hot pasta and freshly grated parmesan.  You can use it as a Bruschetta spread or smear it onto a pizza crust instead of sauce and anything you put over the top will be the better for it.  Yesterday I loaded the top of a rising-not-yet-baked homemade foccacia bread with the tomato and oil mixture – divine!  They would light up an antipasto platter making the other ingredients seem anemic by comparison and I have heard they are good in a cold pasta salad, but mine haven't made it that far, yet.

The photo above, swiped off the internet, doesn't really represent how mine look – turning black at the edges near the end of the roasting: carmelizing…tantalizing…enthralling…

Don't can them ever.  Don't freeze them yet.  Roast them, my friends.  For the love of the tomato, roast them!

Jeanie, a tomato lover…

ODD OBSERVATION: It occurs to me that a woman at the halfway mark is much like a roasted tomato: the red is deeper, more multi-dimensional, the original fruit is somewhat of a memory, but she is richer in taste and fragrance. She adds more to every dish and is better preserved for the future.

NOTE TO SELF:  It is ok to be a roasted tomato. 

 From Amy Grant's upcoming book, Mosaic, "The beauty of being in the middle of life is the vantage point it provides…Even from here I can see growing old is not for the cowardly." p.117  (www.amygrant.com)

8 thoughts on “Slow-roasted intensity

  1. Yes, a bountiful harvest as so many times before! Jeanie has a knack for the garden. It's her love of the planting and harvest that drives her. She also has a love for the planting in people's lives and the harvest that it brings spiritually. I can't tell you the number of people that thank her for putting into their lives. I'm glad honey. Keep planting and you'll keep harvesting. xxoo me p.s.  Amy Grant's New Book!?!?!?! Hmmm, I think I know someone that will be reviewing her new book Mosaic and giving a few copies away in the next few weeks on his blog… me! Stay tuned… Same bat time, same bat channel

  2. Jeanie consider this an intervention. You seem to have an addiction to the dread tomato,or" Red Balls " as thier known on the street. First you write practically a sonnet to tomatoes.Then you forget to blog for a week because you have a tomato sandwich.Now,your concentrating them. What happens when you run out . Maybe sneak a  little tomato juice? When thats not enough, maybe eating tomato paste out of a can with a spoon or squirting ketchup directly into your mouth. Please seek help before you're really "Red Balling" and start stealing ketchup packets from McDonalds. Jeanie we love you and are praying for you. For more info on the effects of tomatoes please see this page, remember if someone puts it on the internet it must be true.crystaloak.com/Gaijin/Essay/tomato_addiction.htm

  3. Alright, I have to say that when you made me taste a cold roasted tomato, I was not impressed with it. But all warmed up and tossed in pasta was delicious!

  4. What about tomato gravy?   Can you make it with these roasted things?  (I have Opal Jenkins' reci[pe, you know!)  -JAM-

  5. I must confess I am not a big tomato fan myself.  But after hearing the recipe and reading your tantalizing description of the finished product I feel compelled to try it myself!  I'll let you know how mine turns out.

  6. Funny~I have a ton of tomatoes and needed something new to do with them. I have so many stewed and pureed at this point that I cannot fathom doing any more. I too will let you know how it turns out. I so love your passion for tomatoes!! Bry–it's an addiction? Maybe–but with antioxidants!!

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