My Favorite Thing To Do With All Those Tomatoes

Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm still waiting on some varieties like the plum tomatoes that are destined for canning and the Indigo Rose tomato. I'm dying to taste one of those. It looks stunning in the garden like a little round black eggplant, but I'm hearing the flavor is kinda meh. However, I have been enjoying a steady stream of what might be my very favorite tomato, Paul Robeson. It's luscious and juicy and just a little smoky. I've grown about 40 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes over the years and this remains a favorite along with Sungold, Green Zebra, and Pineapple.

The other day I asked myself "What's the absolute best way to enjoy an heirloom tomato?" and after some consideration the answer came to me: BLT. So we've been having some of those lately with some sweet onion. I love how the mayo and tomato juices soak into some delicious soft fresh bread like Grand Central Bakery's Como.

I have a TON of little tomatoes though and here's my favorite way to eat those little guys. I grew Principe Borghese this year specifically for this--it's the variety commonly used in Italy for sun dried tomatoes.

Although I'm using Principe Borghese tomatoes this method works wonders on any tomato, even those bland, sad things we get from the grocery store in the middle of Winter. You don't need cherry or small tomatoes either--they work very well but if you have larger ones you can just cut them into smaller chunks.

I cut my tomatoes in half and lay them flat side up on a lined baking sheet but I've heard this step is unnecessary for cherry tomatoes which will burst open on their own.

Sprinkle with some herbs de provence or fresh thyme sprigs or rosemary--whatever you're in the mood for.

Douse the babies with olive oil. Don't be stingy but you don't need a bath either. Maybe a sprinkling of salt (go easy as the flavor get's really concentrated) and some pepper.

Oh yeah, and throw some unpeeled garlic cloves aboard. These will impart some subtle flavor and at the end you can toss them out or squeeze the garlic out of their skins and include with your tomatoes.

Stick them in to the oven at 250˚ and then check them after an hour and then every half hour--they will take around 2-3 hours total depending on the size of the tomatoes and how much pulp they have.  They are done when most of the pulp has started to caramelize and you start seeing some browning.

You can freeze these for long storage or store in the fridge if you think you will eat them within a couple weeks--none of mine have ever actually made it to the freezer. I love eating these in omelets, in quinoa or lentil salads, on bruschetta with goat cheese, on pizza. Or just right out of the jar.


  1. THIS is exactly why I grow tomatoes, I love oven roasting them. For some reason I've never tossed in any garlic but that sounds amazing. Next time I'm doing it!

  2. Ooh you'll love the garlic--just squeeze it out onto some bread and top with tomatoes. Heaven.

  3. This method actually does make the store-bought into a reasonable off-season substitute, but I never thought of doing it with REAL tomatoes. It must be amazing!

    1. You're right--it's even better with home-grown tomatoes and it's so nice to have an easy way to preserve a ton of cherry tomatoes at once. I let a few volunteer tomatoes grow this year and they all turned out to be cherries so I have a deluge.

  4. Like ricki, I've never oven roasted tomatoes from the garden before. I'm going to try it! Thanks for the great idea!

    1. Try it out! I also made a roasted tomato salsa last night which was great--I just put a bunch of roma tomatoes, some unpeeled garlic cloves, some peeled onion, a poblano, and some serrano peppers under the broiler until charred. Then I threw everything into the food processor with cilantro and vinegar and salt, et voila! It was my first time trying that method and it's a keeper for sure.

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