It’s hard to beat peak-season tomatoes. In July and August tomatoes are at their sweetest and most flavorful. Growing up we plucked them straight off the vine; bright, succulent red, yellow and green jewels bursting with flavor. Today I must suffice with fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market or grocery store. Admittedly grocery store tomatoes can often be lacking in flavor due to shipping concerns, timing constraints, and breeding for aesthetics, but one of my favorite (and simplest) ways to enhance the natural flavor of tomatoes – slow roasting – can transform even the most stubborn of bland store-bought tomatoes. And for home-grown and local farmer’s market tomatoes, this method takes their already sweet, tangy flavor to an even more delicious level.
The roasting process caramelizes the natural sugar in the tomatoes, drawing out lovely added layers of flavor. I love using these in tomato soup and Italian red sauces, or as a quick appetizer with roasted tomatoes nestled atop a smear of goat cheese on crostini. I may also have been known to simply eat them straight out of the jar.
- 4 lbs campari tomatoes (or other similar medium-sized, full-bodied variety)
- olive oil, for drizzling
- kosher salt
- freshly-ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Meanwhile, slice tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Arrange on sheet pans, cut-side up, so that tomatoes are close together but not touching.
- Drizzle with olive oil to lightly coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast 3-4 hours, until the tomatoes begin to shrivel in on themselves.
- Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil until cooled. Refrigerated, in an airtight container, tomatoes can be stored for up to two weeks.