Tuesday, August 2, 2011

slow roasted cherry tomatoes

For most people tomatoes are the epitome of summer. That one flavor that says long hot days and garden fresh. Our tomatoes are just starting to come in and I know we will have a good two months of fresh heirloom tomatoes from our garden and CSA. In the beginning it is hard to do more than to pick them and rinse in the hose before popping them right into my mouth.

My husband LOVES tomatoes too, but the acidity bothers him, so over the years I have expanded how I make tomatoes so that we can enjoy them more ways than only raw or for pasta in the early weeks. Today was the first day I picked enough tomatoes (isis candy cherry) to roast. When I am bringing them in by the bowl full I will start to dehydrate them too, but roasting is a fantastic way to enjoy them in smaller quantities. You can make huge trays of this, but I love making this in my toaster oven and use a ceramic pie dish or brownie pan. Using a toaster oven I don't have to heat the whole kitchen up on a hot day - they roast happily away and turn out perfectly every time. You can of course roast them in your full size oven. Roasting brings out the rich deep flavor of the tomatoes too.

I love roasting cherry tomatoes - but you can use any size of tomato. You will need to slice bigger tomatoes down into smaller pieces.

::slow roasted cherry tomatoes::

Slice cherry tomatoes in half, and place skin side down in your dish. Drizzle with olive oil and a nice splash of good quality balsamic vinegar (more vinegar than oil as it will cook down). Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add some whole garlic cloves if you like. Place into your oven at 275ºF for a two or so hours until the balsamic looks sticky and reduced and the tomatoes are slightly smaller and getting curly at the edge. There is no exact time as it will depend on the size and type of your tomatoes - just roast until they get softer, smaller, a bit darker, and curly edged but not all dried out. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Chop some freshly picked basil leaves and scatter over the top, and if you like drop in some soft cheese. I used brie here, but you could use goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, or slivers of good quality Parmesan.

When you serve, be sure to drizzle some of the sticky reduced balsamic over the top. SO good!

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